Shaw University is a private liberal arts institution and the FIRST historically black university in the south. Shaw University has been referred to as the mother of African-American colleges in North Carolina. Shaw University is affiliated with the General Baptist State Convention. Her history is invaluable.
Shaw has had its share of problems over the past few decades; but few are willing to admit what the REAL problem is. It’s easy to assess what the issues are by “glancing” from the outside – however, if we (students, alumni, parents, donors, etc.) don’t take a closer look at what the real problems are, they will be detrimental. Presidents come and go – but a few key members of Shaw’s board of trustees remain the same and have served on The Board for over 20 years. This is where the true problem lies.
A majority of Shaw’s board members are graduates of Shaw University. They stand in a fiduciary role – and owe duties of loyalty and care to the university in which they serve. When members of The Board go “bad,” the consequences are detrimental to all who hold the university near and dear.
An outstanding board constantly evaluates itself and keeps improving. It reviews the organization’s mission annually and re-energizes itself through retreats and other activities. It invites outside expertise and educates itself in best practices.
The potential for truly “bad” acts such as misappropriation of funds, conflicts of interest, self enrichment, selective enforcement of rules and regulations, etc. – is a serious problem. A breach of this trust not only creates resentment, it may create liability and expense in the long run.
FOR YEARS, alumni have voiced their concerns both publicly and privately about many different issues ranging from fiscal irresponsibility to conflicts of interest and malfeasance.
An ineffective board of trustees is like a plumbing leak; The longer we ignore the problem, the worse the potential outcome. It has to be fixed immediately. If we don’t take heed, not only will it be expensive to repair, eventually the entire foundation will fall through.
We have to tap into the spirit of those who went before us and stand up for progress, truth, justice and equality. Stand as students and faculty did on Shaw’s campus during the civil rights era. Always remember, if nothing changes…nothing changes.