Cheyney University of Pennsylvania has reportedly settled a pair of lawsuits brought by two former administrators alleging financial malfeasance, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The university and attorneys for former employees Tara Kent and Nicole Rayfield confirmed to the newspaper that the university had settled a case in which Cheyney President Aaron A. Walton was accused of tapping money earmarked for the Cheyney University Honors Academy and, amid financial struggles, redirecting those funds to marketing and recruitment. The administrators also alleged that the university awarded a vendor a six-figure contract without a competitive bid process.
The lawsuits had been ongoing since 2019.
“The university maintains no admission of liability. It does not hold any obligation beyond the settlements per the agreements reached with all parties involved, in an effort to move the university forward,” Cheyney officials said in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Cheyney, the oldest Historically Black university in the U.S., has struggled financially in recent years, prompting officials to drop football in 2017 and Division II sports altogether in 2018. Cheyney also borrowed heavily, prompting scrutiny from accreditors that was relaxed in 2019 when the state forgave millions of dollars it had loaned to the university.