U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell and Robert Aderholt joined together from across the aisle Monday to support keeping Birmingham-Southern College open.
“We don’t always agree on the issues in Washington, but on this we do: Keeping Birmingham-Southern College open is what’s best for Alabama’s economy, our communities, and our students,” Sewell and Aderholt said in the statement.
State Treasurer Young Boozer denied the college’s loan application in October, citing the college as a “terrible credit risk.” The college attempted to challenge the loan denial, claiming it amounted to an unconstitutional veto of the program created by the Alabama Legislature in the 2023 session specifically in response to BSC’s dire need.
But Montgomery Circuit Judge James Anderson dismissed the suit, saying the statute clearly gives the treasurer complete discretion over whether to issue a loan.
Aderholt and Sewell wrote the statement urging Boozer to exercise his discretion and reverse his decision.
“We strongly urge Treasurer Boozer to rethink his decision to deny the bridge loan that was designed for this very situation: To help out a college or university in Alabama that brings significant value to its community, has been in business for more than 50 years, has assets sufficient to back the state’s loan, and has a solid plan for paying it back,” the duo said.
They cited the college’s economic impact to the state and local tax revenues as well as “the intangible value of what BSC brings to our state’s educational landscape.”
“Students and their families want choices for college – some are drawn to Alabama’s large public institutions with big football programs and Greek systems,” they said. “Others prefer a more urban setting with a focus on science or technology. Some want small colleges in small towns. Some seek out HBCUs or schools grounded in their faith tradition. Some want to get away from home; others want or need to stay close. Some know what they want to study, and others need time and space to explore their options…
“Without BSC, young people who want what BSC offers – a small, residential, nationally ranked college in a big Alabama city – will have to go elsewhere. And once they leave, they may not return.”
For now, BSC president Daniel Coleman said he expects the college will be able to at least finish out the academic year after concerns were voiced last month that the college may have to close its doors at the completion of the fall semester.