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Author Topic: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues  (Read 130 times)

Offline soflorattler

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B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« on: January 14, 2022, 11:28:52 AM »
DAYTONA BEACH – Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) has filed a federal lawsuit against the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune National Alumni Association and its president, Pompano Beach-based Attorney Johnny L. McCray, Jr. 
The wide-ranging law-suit, filed on Jan. 7 in the United States District Court for the Middle District Court of Florida, states that the alumni association, formerly the university’s National Alumni Association, has failed to comply with B-CU’s repeated demands to dissolve and stop using the university’s trademarks and tradenames, stating that it has “false association” with the university.

It also cites a list of other alleged violations under federal and state trademark laws.
The National Alumni Association was originally set while Dr. Bethune was president and has been associated with B-CU for more than 70 years.

Raising money internally

On Sept. 1, 2021, B-CU’s Board of Trustees voted to disassociate from its National Alumni Association and establish its own alumni Direct Support Organization (DSO). The lawsuit states that via the DSO model, “alumni will work directly with the Bethune-Cookman University Office of Alumni Affairs, which allows the University to exercise sufficient direction and control over the fundraising activities for the University, as required by SACS accreditation standards, and for more direct, efficient, and effective alumni engagement.’’
The lawsuit did not mention that the disassociation vote was preceded by the alumni association’s vote of “no confidence “ in the leadership of the board chairman Belvin Perry and Vice-Chair Joyours “Pete” Gamble.

Accreditation concern

The lawsuit further states the Board of Trustees made this decision “in light of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (“SACS”) accreditation standards and requirements, and the need to have control and oversight over its fundraising activities.’’

Ironically, dysfunctional board governance during Perry’s leadership was one of issues identified by SACS that almost cost B-CU its accreditation prior to the arrival of previous B-CU President E. LaBrent Crite, who resigned last year.
The complaint against the alumni association and McCray was filed by B-CU’s attorney, Scott Cichon of Cobb Cole, a law firm in Daytona Beach. B-CU is seeking a jury trial.

‘Discarding Bethune’s vision’

McCray told the Florida Courier, “I think it unfortunate and unnecessary. I don’t think it’s action that is in the best interest of our university. This association was founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Why would they want to discard what she had a vision to create?”
He also responded to the lawsuit allegations filed against him individually. “There is absolutely no basis (for that). I believe it is being done out of spite. My work has been on behalf of the association as a representative, not personally. I am confident this will be dismissed. This is a punitive measure on behalf of the university’s leadership,” McCray declared.
McCray, in his capacity as alumni association president, has been critical of B-CU Board of Trustees and its chairman, Perry, for years, accusing the board of “mismanagement, malfeasance, and abject lack of transparency.” He previously called B-CU’s severance of its relationship with the alumni association “contrived, retaliatory, and a direct response to the...call for transparency and accountability.”

“Our concern is that if the board didn’t respect us and our calls for accountability and transparency, how can there be any if their employees are running this direct support organization?” he stated.

Unlike other institutions, B-CU’s Board of Trustees is self-governing. There is no oversight. Unlike public universities, there is no Board of Regents, governor or attorney general to ensure accountability. 

Responded to request

After receiving the letter to dissolve in September, the alumni association changed its name to the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune National Alumni Association.
The lawsuit states that wasn’t enough. The alumni association is prohibited from using “any trademarks, trade dress, or tradenames that are confusingly similar to any of the University’s marks, including, but not limited to “Bethune-Cookman,” “Bethune-Cookman University,” “B-CU,” “B-CU Alumni Association,” and any variation of the name of the University’s Founder, “Mary McLeod Bethune,” whether alone or in combination with other text, words, letters numbers, the University’s colors, images of the University’s campus and events, or images of its Founder,’’ the lawsuit states.
McCray says the alumni association has done all that the university has asked.

“We have already responded to their demands. We changed our name, came up with a new mission and created both a new logo and brand. We had no problem ceding to their request. We’ve dissolved the relationship as they asked.”
The association plans to carry on with a different purpose, citing recent and past accomplishments, such as raising $300,000 in over 90 days for scholarships and $120,000 and raising funds for the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune statue headed to Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.
By contrast, B-CU’s direct service organization, in its first fundraiser last year, was only able to amass less than $2,000 in donations.

‘Moral responsibility’

“Our primary function will be raising scholarship funds for students. It’s part of Dr. Bethune’s dream. We believe we have a moral responsibility to help educate our youth. Money goes directly to students. We will also network with other alumni,” explained McCray.
“We’re determined to move forward and promote and fostering the legacy of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. It will not include supporting the university. They’ve made it clear they don’t want our support.”
The lawsuit also states that the alumni association’s leadership, including McCray, have “made publicly disparaging remarks about the university.’’

‘Must speak out’

McCray differed.
“I will never do so. I believe I have a responsibility to Dr. Bethune’s legacy, the alumni and the supporters of this university. I see a board that won’t give us an audit, but constantly asks for money. I see other giving zero balances to students and reducing their debt, but our institution won’t. I must speak out.”
B-CU also is seeking financial damages “to pay to the University all profits, including funds raised, which were derived from and/or all damages suffered by reason of the wrongful use, display, and/or sale; and for such other and further relief to which the University shows it is justly entitled,” the lawsuit adds.

https://www.flcourier.com/news/b-cu-sues-alumni-longtime-battle-continues/article_fcb3d76e-7465-11ec-8892-6373af8f10c8.html

Offline Jay_Thomas

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2022, 12:04:16 PM »
 :o OhMyGoodness....the plot thickens?  :shrug:

Offline Golden Kitten

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2022, 01:13:01 PM »
 :'(


Teeny and Little

Offline Strike79

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2022, 01:16:58 PM »
 :no:......Cookman is suing their national alumni association in federal court?  This can't be good.  soflo, what are your sources telling you about this?  The parties couldn't work something out WITHOUT suing in federal court?

Lord, have mercy.  :(

Offline soflorattler

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2022, 09:12:16 PM »
:no:......Cookman is suing their national alumni association in federal court?  This can't be good.  soflo, what are your sources telling you about this?  The parties couldn't work something out WITHOUT suing in federal court?

Lord, have mercy.  :(

Long sordid story bruh. :no:

Offline Wildman78

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2022, 09:45:05 PM »
:no:......Cookman is suing their national alumni association in federal court?  This can't be good.  soflo, what are your sources telling you about this?  The parties couldn't work something out WITHOUT suing in federal court?

Lord, have mercy.  :(

Johnny McCray is a very good friend of mine. This is real.

Online Jaimac

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2022, 10:42:09 PM »
 :(
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

~Martin Luther King,

Offline Oldschoolram

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Re: B-CU sues alumni; longtime battle continues
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2022, 03:49:28 PM »
How do you Aggies like your new arrangement so far?

 

 

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