Predominately Black College Closing After Crippling Cyberattack

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Just outside of Chicago, a predominately Black institution is permanently closing its doors after facing a devastating cyberattack amid the pandemic.

On Friday (May 13), Lincoln College will close for good despite "record-breaking student enrollment" in 2019, The Hill reports. The university said it couldn't recover from a December cyberattack that comprised data and information systems for months.

The pandemic also created "economic burdens" that significantly reduced student life activities and sporting events at the rural Illinois university.

President of Lincoln College David Gerlach said in a statement, “Lincoln College has been serving students from across the globe for more than 157 years." Gerlach continued, “The loss of history, careers and a community of students and alumni is immense.”

The four-year university reportedly needed a "transformational" donation or partnership to survive the cyberattack and pandemic but didn't succeed in receiving one. Lincoln College, established in 1865, announced its closure in April.

University officials said in a statement, “Lincoln College has survived many difficult and challenging times – the economic crisis of 1887, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 global financial crisis, and more, but this is different."

Deemed a Predominately Black Institution (PBI) by the U.S. Department of Education, the school's closure will have a major impact on its 40 percent Black population and the rural area surrounding Lincoln. Pre-pandemic, the PBI reportedly had a $53 million economic impact in the central Illinois area.

According to WLGT, Gerlach said he had "poured my [his] soul" into Lincoln, but down $20 million in funds, it would be  “irresponsible to continue to operate next year.”

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