BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Right now, Birmingham Southern College is on the brink of closure again.
This comes on the heels of the school filing a lawsuit against Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer after he denied the school from receiving a loan to stay open. The lawsuit was dismissed last week.
Several students said they are devastated, stressed, and anxious over the thought of being ripped away from the school community.
Freshman tennis player Abbie Bateh said she was so confident in her choice to attend Birmingham Southern because she was told it would survive.
The school has been expecting a loan up to $30 million under the Distressed Institutions of Higher Learning Revolving Loan Fund.
This was an act signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in June intended to help colleges like Birmingham Southern.
Now, Abbie is worried because her class credits and time playing tennis is on the line.
“It is crazy,” said Bateh. “Anxiety is up for everyone. Everybody’s talking about not being able to sleep. Just things like that. Like not being able to fall asleep is just something that could be fixed if we could just get donors and get people to support us.”
Her teammate, Catherine Burnett said her mom has been a staff member for years and they live on campus.
“From an education standpoint, I’ll lose this place that has such an amazing opportunity for education, but I’ll also lose all of these people. My mom will lose her job, we’ll have to find a new home, my brother’s a freshman as well. Like it’ll change my whole entire life.”
Bateh’s mother, Marie Bateh, is a Birmingham Southern alum. Bateh noted her child’s education is a large investment, but she was confident sending Abbie to BSC after the loan fund act was signed into law.
She’s now heartbroken to see BSC has landed in jeopardy again. Bateh said it will be hard to match the school’s quality anywhere else, adding it’s the perfect place for her daughter’s needs.
“No one thinks about these kid’s mental health,” said Bateh. “These kids have been through so much. They went through COVID. They went through a year of online learning. Then they get to school, and they think it’s going to close last year. And so, they’ve gone through so much mentally and I don’t think anybody is thinking about what this is doing to them and their mental state. And I really think someone needs to actually step up and care about what’s going on with these kids and do the right thing.”
Bateh said she can’t trust our state government right now but has confidence the school’s leadership will guide them through this turmoil again.
Phoebe Shapard is a senior on the tennis team. She said she transferred in her sophomore year because Birmingham Southern has everything she needs and wants.
If the school does close, Shapard said she hopes all of her credits would transfer for her final semester, but she just doesn’t know at this time.
She said she’s really disappointed and hopes our state government understands the impact of their decisions.
“I chose this state,” said Shapard. “I chose this school, and, you know, being so far away from home I’m already away from my family and now I’m already being ripped from another one and the process is awful. I hope that Treasurer Boozer just realizes how vital these students’ lives are and not only the students, but the faculty and staff.”
CBS 42 reached out to Treasurer Boozer’s office for further comment. We have not received a response. His most recent statement can be found here.
Birmingham Southern College said they are not able to comment on their next steps at this time. Their most recent statement can be found in full here.