NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - With the College of New Rochelle embroiled in an unprecedented financial crisis that threatens its very existence, local officials are calling on the community to help save the institution.
Last month, the school’s Board of Trustees launched an extensive investigation into financial misappropriations that revealed approximately $20 million in payroll taxes that were not paid for eight quarters dating back to 2014 under the watch of former CNR President Judith Huntington, who resigned in October due to “significant unmet financial obligations.”
The Board has cautioned that it will require significant cost-cutting and outside funding for the college to remain as a stand-alone institution. Last week, they launched the #WeAreCNR fundraising campaign, which raised nearly $900,000 of its stated $1 million goal.
“CNR’s collapse would have stark implications for our broader community. They have supported many local organizations like Hope Community Services and the Adult Learning Center,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson noted.
According to the Board, the investigation thus far has determined that the CNR’s controller failed to file the required tax returns and to pay the taxes due. It also revealed that senior management did not provide accurate information to the Board about the college’s finances.
The investigation also revealed other significant debts, liabilities and depletion of assets - including the unrestricted endowment - that total more than $11 million.
“The financial information that was provided to the Board was incorrect, incomplete and lacked transparency. Additionally, an independent external auditing firm audited CNR’s financial statements for recent years and found no material issues. The Board was permitted to rely on these audits.”
The Board noted that because the misappropriations went nearly two years before being discovered, they “do not have the normal course of time to address the college’s financial stress,” calling the situation “urgent.” They are presently examining all feasible options to preserve the school’s mission, including discussions with possible options with other institutions.
“We must move quickly to be effective in determining the destiny of the College of New Rochelle, our alma mater that has produced, accomplished, impassioned leaders for more than a century,” Marlene Malone Tutera, the President of the Alumnae/i Association said. “The next few weeks will be critical. I hope we can count on (alumni) to help rebuild CNR and preserve all that has been most meaningful in every era of the last 112 years.”