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Students Threaten To Leave Ohios Wilberforce University

Administrators at a small, private university in southwestern Ohio say they're working to address concerns that prompted two-thirds of its roughly 500 students to threaten to leave.

More than 300 Wilberforce University students requested withdrawal forms during the past week, student body president and senior Brandon Harvey told the Dayton Daily News. They complained about what they described as mismanagement and "diminishing conditions" and warned they'd leave by next fall if the historically black school east of Dayton doesn't address their concerns.

Those concerns include housing, food service, library and lab hours and enrollment, which has dropped from more than 1,100 in 2005.

School President Patricia Hardaway said the university has taken steps to improve its financial position in recent years, but she indicated she can't make big promises in the short timeframe before next autumn.

"We're not going to say to students that if you hang in there with us until August 2013, we'll have a new dorm; we'll have renovations in place," Hardaway said. "We believe in treating the students as young adults and helping them understand the framework and the context in which we are all operating."

Hardaway said administrators met with student leaders last month and are trying to address some of their concerns.

"As we look at our specific situation, of course we would prefer that students remain at Wilberforce University," she said. "There is not a university in the universe that relishes the idea of students withdrawing."

The students plan a second protest at the trustees' off-campus meeting this week, Harvey said.

"We're tired of talking. We actually want results," he said. "It's just time for a change."