Bacone College Gears Up For Fall Semester Despite Shut Down 'Rumors'

Monday, August 13th 2018, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6

Bacone students are gearing up for the first day of classes on Wednesday after the future of the college was up in the air all summer long.

"There's a message people at Bacone want to get across, from students to faculty, even from the president himself, Bacone College is open this fall, and it's here to stay.

Third-year Bacone student Zoe Lyons said even as rumors swirled that Bacone might shut down for good, she wasn't worried.

"I knew it was gonna still be here, I wasn't concerned at all. If anything, I was looking forward to coming back," Lyons said. 

In May, News On 6 reported that a bulk of the college's faculty and staff were laid off by e-mail.

5/8/2018 Related Story: Bacone College Closing, Laying Off Staff Unless Funding Is Found Soon

But new Bacone President Dr. Ferlin Clark said the actual shutdown of the college was only a rumor.

"I think the wrong smoke signal went out at that time," said Clark. 

But the college has made a lot of cuts, particularly to the athletics program.

Clark said the college had 16 sports teams compared to only 13 academic programs.

"We became a school of athletics rather than a school of academics," Clark said. 

Clark said they didn't cut athletics altogether but it was necessary to refocus the college's priorities.

"A revisioning, but also a revisiting of who we really are, and how we need to change, and how we need to be better," said Clark. 

That’s something Lyons thinks new leadership has done well.

"They were able to sit back and think, who is Bacone? What is Bacone? So now we're able to have that identity again," Lyons said. 

President Clark said he is slowly rehiring faculty now.

"Moving forward, of course at a reduced level, but that's where we are," Clark said. 

Bacone is also moving things like student services and the library back on campus which will continue chipping away at the $2 million deficit Clark faced when he took over the university.