All Articles Tagged "dolores cross"
She was a myriad of firsts. The first black woman on a tenured track at Northwestern University, the first black woman to serve in a cabinet position in New York State, the first black woman to be associate vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Minnesota, the first female president of Chicago State University and – infamously – the first female president of Morris Brown College. Now, after years of silence during the aftermath of her career-ending relationship with the financially forsaken HBCU, Dolores Cross is speaking out again.
Cross began writing Beyond the Wall: A Memoir after she had been stripped to nothing but time, the truth and an electronic ankle bracelet; a not-so-friendly reminder of the one event in her 30 year career that she’d like to forget. The ex-president of the college founded by ex-slaves had literally become shackled to a strict perimeter and a heavy past. She treated the year-long confinement as a cocoon, where she retreated to write about her experience and explore what happens when one finds herself – literally and figuratively – stuck.
“In Beyond the Wall: A Memoir, I use the marathon metaphor ‘hitting the wall’ to describe how my moving ahead came to a halt when confronted with ill-founded criminal allegations, the media’s rush to judgment and betrayal,” she said. Cross has been loosening herself from sticky situations since she became homeless as a 13-year-old. While most incoming college presidents are negotiating salaries, she faced the possibility of not having one at all; prompting her to begin the first of many projects she would embark on independently for the benefit of the university. She applied for and received a grant from the General Electric Fund that would sponsor her salary for the first two years of her presidency. She had every intention of never being a financial burden to the university, but years later, Morris Brown’s money problems became her personal cross to bear – one that she would later be publicly nailed to.
Aside from the revolving door of presidents at Morris Brown in the 10 years prior to Cross’ induction, the university was suffering the effects of a $3.2 million structural deficit. Additionally, in 1998 they were given an $8.2 million audit disallowance from the U.S. Department of Education, that was coupled with other issues, including plummeting enrollment and a chronically weak technology infrastructure. Then they lost accreditation and things began to fall apart from there; who could forget that $380,000 unpaid water bill?
“There were some things I did not know coming into my presidency,” Cross said. “Bottom line, there were problems at Morris Brown College long before I arrived.” After a long battle with the Department of Education, mutiny from some of her trusted cabinet members, federal charges of fraud and financial irregularities, and being the media’s scapegoat, Cross eventually plead guilty to misapplying $26,000 in student financial aid to cover other operating expenses. The other charges were dismissed. She was sentenced to a year of house arrest, five years probation and 500 hours of community service.
(AJC) — Dolores Cross came to Morris Brown, the historically black college founded by former slaves, with a plan to pull the school out of debt and restore its pride. Instead, Cross and the school became each other’s downfall. Tapped in 1998 to become the Atlanta school’s first female president, Cross left in shame in 2002, facing accusations she had stolen from the 129-year-old institution. In a new memoir “Beyond the Wall,” and her first public comments since her conviction, Cross attempts to understand and explain what led to her ruin.