By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun
7:32 PM EST, February 20, 2013
Coppin State University is unable to pay its adjunct professors on time this month, the latest in a string of problems for the embattled college.
In an email obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Habtu Braha, the interim associate vice president for academic affairs, wrote to adjunct faculty members on Monday that their first paychecks of the semester would be late.
"This delay in the processing of contracts was caused by a confluence of many issues ... due to budgetary constraints, extended registration processes, low course enrollments and subsequent cancellation of classes," he wrote. "We will make sure that this does not happen in the future."
Coppin released a statement that attributed the problem to an "administrative processing delay." The university did not provide further details such as how late the paychecks would be or how many part-time lecturers would be affected.
Adjunct faculty were supposed to be paid this semester on Wednesday, then three more times in March, April and May, according to a schedule from the university.
Coppin's finances have been strained, according to an audit of the University System of Maryland's 12 institutions. By the end of the 2012 fiscal year, Coppin had less than $250,000 in cash and cash equivalents and was getting most of its support from the state and federal government.
Former Coppin president Reginald S. Avery stepped down in January, nearly a year after faculty members gave him a vote of no confidence and criticized his budget management. Avery's decision to let 25 employees go last year drew a protest from students, professors and staff who said the university was too administration-heavy. Mortimer H. Neufville is serving as interim president.
The historically black university serves about 2,700 students, most of whom come from city neighborhoods and require remedial education.
Coppin has the lowest six-year graduation rate of all university system institutions, at 16 percent in 2011. The second-lowest graduation rate, at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, is double Coppin's.
The university system put together a committee in December to review Coppin's goals and find ways to improve, and held a public meeting this month for input. The committee's report is due in May.
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