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MCU To Shut Down June 30, Many Staff Volunteering
By Bill Hughes
MAYFIELD, KY - Mid-Continent University has laid off all of its faculty and staff, but classes will still be held Wednesday.

After a 3-1/2 hour trustees meeting Tuesday night, interim president Tom Walden said there was no money for payroll.

"It became my responsibility to tell all of the staff and the faculty that we would not have any employees tomorrow, that we had to lay off every employee because of our financial situation, and because of the fact that we didn't have money to pay them, we felt like they needed to understand that." Walden said.

Administration made the move Tuesday, the last day of the pay period. Walden said the board gave their approval of the move at the meeting, while not closing the doors just yet.

"However, tomorrow we will be open, and it will be open by volunteers. Many of the faculty, almost all of the faculty and many of the staff are going to show up tomorrow, and so we're going to continue to teach classes, we're going to continue to keep the organization running, and we intend to make it at least through graduation. But the board tonight decided that we would try to teach classes up to June 30. June 30 we will cease all classes," he said.

Walden said that will probably be the end of the university as it is currently known, but the trustees are continually trying to find funding, and if they can somehow raise enough, their plan could change.

"There's several different avenues we've been investigating, selling of  property in the Paducah area on I-24, we are looking for donations, we are looking for a lot of different avenues, such as even some state and federal monies," Walden said.

Churches and religious organizations will be contributing food for the cafeteria, so those in the dorms will have food to eat. Trace Creek Baptist Church and others have also promised funding to make sure graduation is held.

Students will still be able to get their transcripts, since many office staff will also be volunteering.

Walden said the university has reached out to other institutions about transferring credits or using the campus, but all of that is, "very preliminary."

According to Walden, any Advantage classes that contain at least one student who is set to graduate in May will be continued, but others may not.

After learning that students were waiting and hoping to hear anything about their school, trustee Gale Hawkins visited two Advantage classes after the meeting, and personally told them that they would no longer have classes after they finish their semester on May 29. He also fielded questions from students regarding their credit hours and student loans.

Walden said the layoffs instantly changed the relationship with the Department of Education, and the focus has shifted from helping audit the school's finances to making sure students have every opportunity that can be provided.

Walden said the Board of Trustees is meeting very frequently and has been very cooperative. He emphasized that the real heroes are the staff and faculty, who are volunteering out of true concern and support for the students.

"We want to make sure we give quality education during this time," Walden said. "We want the best for our students, we want the best for Mid-Continent, and we would pray that something would happen that will turn this situation around. We're optimistic, but we have to be realistic."


Published 10:17 PM, Tuesday Apr. 15, 2014
Updated 03:25 AM, Thursday Apr. 17, 2014

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