A group of consultants and alumni advocates from Saint Paul’s College are looking to re-open the HBCU that closed in 2013 due to financial strain and the loss of its accreditation.
In a letter obtained by the HBCU Digest, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges President Belle Wheelan wrote to members of the SPC4LIFE organization, a group that has inquired about the steps necessary to reinstate the school’s membership with the accrediting body upon its reopening.
SACSCOC accredits institutions and thus the college needs to have state authority to operate as an institution of higher education,” Wheelan wrote in a letter to the group last month. “Once it is established and has degree-granting authority from the state of Virginia, Saint Paul’s College must apply and follow the process to become a candidate and subsequently a member of SACSCOC.”
The private liberal arts HBCU in Lawrenceville, Va shuttered in 2013 following its removal as a SACSCOC member institution in 2012 for financial instability. The campus was sold in 2017 to a China-based investment group for $12 million, which included ownership of the college’s facilities and more than 100 acres of land.
The campus has been targeted for various development projects a city and federal levels. A year after closing, federal immigration officials apologized for and canceled plans to use the campus as a sheltering complex for undocumented children who immigrated with families across the Mexico-United States border.
That same year, Pan-African Activist Umar Johnson publicly raised money to purchase the institution but was unsuccessful in securing the property.
In 2020, officials in Brunswick County, Va announced a task force to examine mixed commercial and cultural use opportunities for the land and facilities.
If re-opened, Saint Paul’s would be the third HBCU in recent years to seek reaccreditation, following efforts from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tenn., which earlier this year announced a pipeline partnership with the University of Tennessee.