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Struggling Saint Augustine’s University has lost an appeal to maintain its accreditation and now plans to file an injunction to ask the courts to weigh in, SAU officials announced Tuesday.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges stripped the university of accreditation in December over financial and governance issues. However, SAU remained accredited until the appeal process played out. Now litigation is SAU’s only lifeline.

“While SAU leadership is understandably disappointed in the SACSCOC decision, the president and his team look forward to continuing this fight in court,” officials said in a statement.

The loss of accreditation is the latest in a series of blows for the historically Black university in North Carolina, which last year fired then president Christine McPhail and was subsequently hit with a discrimination complaint. McPhail has alleged that the mostly male Board of Trustees created a hostile work environment for her and other female employees.

SAU has also struggled to meet payroll recently and last week was hit with a $7.9 million tax lien.

Saint Augustine’s has operated at a deficit for most of the last decade, public tax filings show. Enrollment has slipped from 1,350 in fall 2013 to fewer than 900 in fall 2022, according to figures from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.