The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission's Board of Trustees denied Saint Augustine's University's appeal for their accreditation loss in a report from Judith Retana and Chris Clark of CBS 17. The university has been in hot water with SACSCOC for a couple years after the organization placed them on probation in 2022 for concerns over financial stability.

Saint Augustine's interim president Dr. Marcus H. Burgess is expected to file a lawsuit against SACSCOC after they denied the university's appeal.

“SACS prohibited us from showing them the new things we are currently working on. Thus far, the decision was based on everything that happened from Dec. 1 on back,” Burgess told CBS 17. “Students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters out there – we still have our accreditation and we're going to continue to fight for this great institution. 157 years of great support, we're going to continue [to] fight on.”

The loss of accreditation is, as Vaughn Wilson of HBCU Gameday puts it, “a death sentence for a functioning college or university.” Without accreditation, the state can pull funding from the university. Most HBCUs are heavily reliant on state funding, which means losing accreditation can effectively force the school to close.

SACSCOC's Board of Trustees first removed Saint Augustine's accreditation and kicked them off their membership in December. The university had the opportunity to appeal that decision, but they were unsuccessful. The Board's concerns about St. Augustine's financial viability is not completely unfounded, as the IRS revealed on Feb. 14 the university had yet to pay their taxes since 2020. They now owe the government over $7.8 million.

In response to the allegations, Burgess initiated a fundraising campaign with the goal of generating $5 million to prove their financial stability.

“The Falcon Pride Initiative Fund represents our unwavering commitment to the future of Saint Augustine's University,” Burgess said. “Our goal is to raise the necessary funds to preserve our accreditation and reassert our position as a leader in higher education. We fully dedicate ourselves to maintaining our accreditation and fostering an environment of academic excellence and opportunity for our students.”

On top of the loss of accreditation, Saint Augustine's is still dealing with a lawsuit from Howard Feggins. The former head football coach at the university alleges an unjustifiable firing in October.