Saint Augustine’s University moved classes online days before the start of the spring semester. Students were notified in an email sent on Friday that the first two weeks of classes would be held remotely, according to ABC11. In-person learning is expected to resume on Jan. 22. The HBCU cited the need for residence halls and classrooms to be in the best conditions. 

“Now it’s like we can’t come back to school last minute, and they’re sending this out, and there are transfer students, they’re like, come here from other countries, states far away,” Aspen McNeil, a sophomore student, told the news channel. “It’s just like they sent an email real quick and didn’t really give a good explanation to why.”

“I’m from Detroit… I was told last minute when I was supposed to come back, that I couldn’t come back. I know people already have booked their plane tickets and everything — and now, like last minute, you can’t,” Siyla Newson-Lane, another sophomore student, added.

The decision comes as the university is attempting to keep its accreditation status.

The accrediting body board “voted to remove the University from SACSCOC membership” last month, according to Inside Higher Ed. The decision was made over issues relating to the HBCU’s governing board and institutional finances. Saint Augustine’s University appealed the decision and remains accredited during that process. 

“Transparency here is like terrible,” McNeil told ABC11. “It is just like if you could just be upfront with your students and just let us know what’s going on. It’s like everyone knows something is going on that’s off, but we don’t know what it is. But stuff keeps happening and we are having to face like the backlash of it.”

Saint Augustine’s University has also received two complaints from former university officials and staffers. 

Former university president Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail filed a discrimination complaint after being fired last month. Her complaint cites a hostile work environment, as well as racial and gender bias against her and other Black women from the board of trustees, according to ABC11.

The HBCU’s former head football coach is suing Saint Augustine’s for firing him unlawfully. Howard Feggins was fired in October after it was unveiled that two football players were ineligible, according to the news channel. The lawsuit alleges he was silenced after bringing up concerns about how the program is run.