Updated Wednesday at 9:59 a.m.
Just as Morris Brown College seemed to be charting a new course, a weekend fire may have interrupted the school’s momentum. According to a video posted on Facebook, interim president Kevin James says he was notified about the fire early Saturday morning.
Department said a small trash fire set off the sprinkler system. The report didn’t identify the source of the fire. James said the sprinklers flooded his office and other parts of the administration building. Through the video, James asked for $100,000 in donations for emergency cleanup efforts. He said the school had received about $35,000 as of Tuesday morning.
The incident comes as Morris Brown is trying to rebound from years of low enrollment, financial troubles, and a 17-year accreditation lapse. The Board of Trustees tapped James to step in and lead the school in February after former President Stanley Pritchett stepped down in December.
James said regaining accreditation would be a top priority, and announced the school would apply through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). He also pledged to make fundraising a focus to help with operating costs and to ensure the college’s financial stability.
Raising funds to repair fire damage wasn’t part of the original plan, but James tried to assure alumni and others that the incident won’t derail his long-term goals for the college.
“The devil is busy,” James said in the Facebook video. “We will not allow the devil to do this. We will not allow anyone to throw us off track. We will restore Morris Brown.”
James said donors should give directly through the school’s website, morrisbrown.edu.