BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Trustees at Birmingham-Southern College on Wednesday (Aug. 11) accepted the resignation of President David Pollick after a months-long controversy over accounting errors and overspending.

The financial mismanagement helped put the United Methodist-affiliated liberal arts school in deep financial trouble. Pollick, 62, had been president since July 2004.

Earlier this year, Pollick said the college has for years been mistakenly not subtracting Pell grants from students’ financial aid packages, meaning the college was giving too much financial aid, causing revenue shortfalls.

A statement from the school’s board of trustees said the economic downturn impacted the school’s building program and financial donations, resulting in heavy debt levels. Trustees said financial officers overstated the revenues and understated the expenses.

It took the past four months to truly ˜peel back the layers of the onion’ to see the total causes and ultimate degree of deficient funding, the trustees said.

I have concluded that the focus is presently on me and not on the creative and constructive process that must rapidly take place in order to protect Birmingham-Southern’s future, Pollick said in a statement.

Out of respect for our community and my dreams for this wonderful college, following deep reflection, it is not without significant hesitation and considerable sorrow that I have concluded that the essential healing and creative process will proceed more rapidly if I step aside as president at this time.

The school planned to cut about $10 million a year, about a fifth of its budget. Drastic budget measures have been taken, including cutting 29 faculty positions, five majors and 51 staff jobs. Student enrollment is about 1,400.

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