Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. Why did President Huntington resign?
A. The Board of Trustees accepted President Huntington’s resignation because the Trustees believed that the College was best served by having new leadership as it deals with financial challenges.
Q. What are the unmet financial obligations and how serious are they?
A. When the Board of Trustees first learned around the beginning of the school year of the unmet obligations, it hired a Chief Restructuring Officer and appointed a Special Committee of Trustees to oversee an investigation into the matter by an outside law firm and forensic accounting firm. This investigation is ongoing. While the full impact of these unmet obligations is not yet clear pending the completion of the investigation, it is clear from the preliminary stages of the investigation that the burden on the College’s operating budget is substantial. The Trustees will provide additional information about this investigation at a later date.
Q. Why weren’t these unmet financial obligations discovered earlier?
A. That is part of the ongoing investigation. They emerged after the College’s controller retired at the end of the last academic year. One of the key focuses of the investigation is why these unmet obligations did not become known until recently and why they were not discovered by a nationally known outside firm that routinely audited the College’s financial statements and situation.
Q. Why hasn’t the College Community been told about these problems earlier?
A. When the problems were first discovered, the Board of Trustees took the prudent and expeditious steps outlined above to address the problem. Those actions indicated the challenges were greater, in terms of the amount of money involved, than originally suspected. While the independent investigation overseen by the Special Committee continues, the Trustees felt it was important to share what information they could with the College Community, understanding additional information will be shared when available.
Q. What steps is the College taking in response to the discovery and impact of these unmet financial obligations?
A. The unmet financial obligations have and will continue to have a serious impact on the College’s operations. Interim President Escribano and the Trustees are considering all options in attempting to minimize disruptions to classes and other student activities. These include discussions with regulators, accreditation organizations, lenders, donors, alumni and other academic institutions, and developing plans for all potential outcomes. The Trustees are examining a variety of options to obtain additional bridge financing to stabilize the College’s finances in the short term as we pursue a long-term solution. It is clear there will have to be budgetary cutbacks, including potentially reductions in both administrative staff and faculty
Q. How will this affect students?
A. Students and their families are the Trustees’ top priority. The Trustees are exploring all options to ensure the College’s operations. They are working hard to prevent disruptions and to protect student financial aid and maximize the opportunity to provide the fully-accredited, quality education students expect from the College. Student financial aid is not affected. We will update this FAQ and notify students via email as it relates to any updates that will be helpful to them. Additionally, Interim President Escribano will be hosting student forums on many of our campuses to address any questions or concerns the students may have. More information on these forums will be forthcoming.
Q. How will this affect faculty and staff?
A. Along with our students, the College’s faculty and staff are its greatest asset. The Trustees will do all they can to minimize the impact of the unmet financial obligations on faculty and staff. The College, however, is in the process of making budget cuts which likely will include cutbacks both among staff and faculty. The College is also considering a Declaration of Exigency, which as outlined in the College Handbook, uses the American Association of University Professors definition of an Exigency as “an imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole and which cannot be alleviated by less drastic means.”
Q. Does that mean the College is closing?
A. No. The College is committed to fighting for its future. The Declaration of Exigency, if it is declared, would start a consultative process with the Faculty Senate to discuss cutbacks which could include professors. But as the definition of a Declaration of Exigency above indicates, the situation is critical and must be addressed immediately and aggressively.
Q. How can we get more information as the situation develops?
A. We will be updating this FAQ to keep the College Community apprised of developments as more information becomes available. The school also has established a special e-mail dedicated to providing a place to ask questions and get a personalized response. That e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement by Gwen Adolph
Chairperson, Board of Trustees of The College of New Rochelle
The Board of Trustees of The College of New Rochelle has accepted the resignation of Judith Huntington as President. The Trustees named Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Dorothy Escribano as Interim President. Kevin Cavanagh, the College’s Vice President of Enrollment Management, has agreed to serve as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning.
Around the beginning of the school year, the Trustees were advised of significant unmet financial obligations that had accrued over a period of time. The Trustees took immediate action and appointed a Special Committee of Trustees to oversee an investigation into the matter. The Trustees also engaged a Chief Restructuring Officer to restructure and manage the College’s finances and hired a forensic accountant and outside law firm to perform the investigation, which is ongoing.
Our foremost responsibility is to the students and their families who have invested their resources and their futures in the quality academic programming that the College has provided. We have made these changes because we are looking in new directions to protect and preserve the mission of The College of New Rochelle. It is our commitment to work as hard as we can to see that those students have the opportunity to complete their education so they can take advantage of life’s opportunities.
We are examining all of our options as we work to meet the financial challenges and protect the interests of our students and the CNR Community. We anticipate providing more details regarding this matter when the investigation is complete.
In the meantime, we have prepared the following FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions – concerning the difficult issues we face. We will regularly update the FAQ as information becomes available.
Message from the Board Chair Regarding Lawsuit Filed Against the College
The College was sued yesterday by the Senate, Council of Faculty, and fourteen former faculty members. This action was taken to demand the award of damages to fourteen individuals who were laid off in June. By their participation, the Senate and Council of Faculty have brought this lawsuit on behalf of everyone they represent.
The Board has stated clearly and consistently that it regrets the need to lay off even one person, but we did what was necessary for the viability of the College and the continued quality education of our students. We are disappointed about the lawsuit and the resources that will be required to defend it, but we are not discouraged.
We look forward to continuing to work with the entire community to move CNR forward.
Gwen Adolph, Chair
CNR Board of Trustees
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How many layoffs have taken place?
A: Approximately 70 layoffs have taken place since November 2016.
Q: Are tenured faculty affected?
A: 10 tenured faculty were included.
Q. Why were tenured faculty included?
A. It is important to note that the number of tenured faculty layoffs was limited to the fewest possible. The layoffs impacted tenured faculty substantially less than the impact on staff and non-tenured faculty with only 12.5% of the total layoffs being tenured faculty.Nonetheless, unless the tenured faculty were included in the layoffs, the College would not have had a path forward.
Q: What criteria was used in determining the layoffs?
A: The continued effectiveness of each area to serve our students was at the foundation of each reduction decision. Schedules and student enrollment in each school, student academic, wellness, extracurricular and financial support services, facilities needs, employee needs were all considered.
Q: Were compensation packages offered?
A: Because of the financial restrictions confronting the College, this was not possible.
Q: How will the layoffs impact students and academic programs?
A: Every effort was made to minimize the impact of these layoffs on our students and academic programs.
Q: Do the layoffs involved personnel from each of the College’s five campuses?
Q: Will there be additional layoffs?
A: No further layoffs are contemplated at this time.
Q. When were the unmet obligations that led to the financial crisis discovered?
A. In late August 2016, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees first learned of significant unmet financial obligations that had occurred over a period of at least three years. These financial irregularities began to be discovered after CNR’s controller retired and various vendors began to seek payment for outstanding obligations. Additionally, in late August, the Executive Committee learned of outstanding payment obligations due to federal and state taxing authorities. Those combined obligations, and others that were discovered later, threatened the sustainability of CNR.
Q. What actions were taken in light of the discovery?
A. Once aware of the situation, the Board took immediate action and appointed a three-person Special Committee of Trustees to address the crisis on a day to day basis, oversee an investigation into the matter and assess the current condition and future viability of CNR.
To that end, the Special Committee retained an outside law firm to investigate the financial mismanagement and determine who within the College Community was responsible for its creation; a forensic accounting firm to determine the full extent of the financial situation; and a Chief Restructuring Officer to restructure and manage the financial operations of the College during the crisis.
Q. What has the investigation uncovered?
A. The investigation uncovered problems that were serious enough that we referred the matter to federal prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office. We are cooperating fully with their investigation. At this point, we cannot share additional details as doing so may hinder that investigation but when we are able to do so we will share more information.
Q. Will legal action be taken?
A. We have referred the matter to federal prosecutors and we will cooperate with the United States Attorney’s Office to the fullest extent possible.
Q. What has been done to address the debt and identify a path forward for the College?
A. See Recovery Plan document.
Q. Does this mean the crisis has been averted?
A. Although work remains to be done, the measures taken and changes implemented to date have been effective in addressing the College’s financial challenges and the College is continuing to take the steps necessary to close the financial gap. However, substantial fundraising in the form of donations, grants and/or revolving lines of credit remain crucial for the College’s long-term survival.
Q. What else does the path forward for CNR include?
A. A national search for a new president is currently underway. Updates on the search are available on the Presidential Search page.
Q. Have students been negatively affected by the crisis?
A. Every effort has been made to ensure that our students have not been affected. The College’s academic programs and extracurricular activities continue to be offered. Co-curricular resources, such as library services and tutoring will continue to be provided to our students at the same level as they are now.
Q. Is the College’s enrollment strong?
A. Yes.The College’s quality educational programs and support services continue to attract students to CNR and fall enrollment met budgeted levels.
Q. How can we get more information as the situation develops?
A. We will be updating this FAQ to keep the College Community apprised of developments as more information becomes available.