NORFOLK -- When Eddie N. Moore Jr. took over the president's office at Norfolk State University, the former oil executive exuded confidence in proclaiming that NSU's academic and financial problems could be fixed.
In December, the university will get its report card. The most severe problems at the 80-year-old school came to light two years ago when state auditors were unable to complete their jobs because of faulty accounting systems at the school.
The Board of Visitors fired Dr. Tony Atwater and replaced him with Moore, who is also the retired President of St. Paul's College in Lawerenceville, Virginia.
Moore, who has been at the helm for one year, issued his State of the University Address Monday before the faculty, staff, board members and community supporters. Moore told the audience the December review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges will determine whether NSU will be removed from warning, placed on probation, or continue on warning for six to 12 months after the commission's decision.
In order to meet deadlines, the school has hired more accountants. In addition, the University has streamlined the student registration process, overhauled institutional policies and practices on all levels, and adopted an aggressive and transparent budgeting process.
Moore added that financial statements for fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013 are complete and financial statements for 2014 are being prepared.
NSU's problems are not unique as historically black colleges and universities across the nation are in trouble. Enrollment is dropping as federal dollars are drying up, and students have more choices for education.
Even with the trend, HBCU'S play a vital role in the education of minorities in America. According to Black Enterprise Magazine, 12 percent of all black college students are enrolled in HBCU's and those schools produce 23 percent of all black college graduates.
The State of the University Address also revealed some tough choices that have been made in the president's office. Athletics this year will see a cut of more than a million dollars. The beloved NSU band and the choir combined will see a half-million dollar cut.
Moore told the audience everything the university does must be done in the best interests of students.
"This responsibility we cannot and must not abdicate-not for any personal reasons and not for any group agendas," said Moore.