Tuskegee Grads Seek Ouster of Prez
TUSKEGEE (Cascade Press)
Tuskegee grads have launched a petition on Change.org to oust first year President, Brian Johnson. The drive comes nine months into Johnson’s first year on the job. It is believed to be unprecedented for graduates to seek the ouster of a college president via an online petition.
Johnson, who fashions himself as a tech savvy administrator will have to fend off an internet driven petition from graduates of a leading university in technological advancement in aerospace engineering. According to the petition, Johnson “lacks the professional and personal qualities that are necessary to lead a university as prestigious as Tuskegee University.”
Johnson has been in hot water with alumni since his first week on the job. He refused to meet with former Tuskegee head basketball coach, Leon Douglas to resolve a dispute between Douglas and the Director of Athletics. Douglas resigned from his position after leading the basketball team to its first ever appearance in the Division II Elite Eight Tournament in 2014.
A week later he declined to meet with Tuskegee City Councilman Chris Lee. In addition to representing the university community on the city council, Lee’s parents and grandparents are graduates of Tuskegee.
Later, Johnson banned Rev. Harold Lusk, Pastor of the Greenwood Missionary Baptist Church, from coming on campus. The university has a long history with Greenwood Missionary Baptist Church. It was the home church of Booker T. Washington.
After a public uproar, the ban was lifted, but not before, the Tuskegee University Police Department violated Lusk’s privacy rights by running his name through the national crime database. This action subjects the university to liability risks should Lusk seek civil remedies available to him.
Before, this controversy could die down, Johnson, rudely refused to meet with Cynthia Smith, the grieving mother of Bobby Smith, a student killed during a student event, who wanted to discuss details of a scholarship program Johnson’s predecessor had promised would be established.
The petition accuses Johnson of using “social media inappropriately…” Johnson often quotes hip-hop artists and speaks in the vernacular of the street on social media. He has posted pictures of himself in less than presidential attire “kicking it” with female students.
Proponents of Johnson’s ouster say that Johnson, “devalues the reputation of Tuskegee University and by extension the value, prestige and marketability of our hard earned degrees.”
In the past week, three high level administrative officials either resigned, effective May 1 or were fired, effective immediately, including the Dean of the School of Engineering, the Coordinator of Alumni Affairs and the Dean of Students, each of whom had been employed at the university for several decades.
The petition warned that “should Dr. Brian Johnson remain as President of Tuskegee University, alumni donations and student retention will be directly impacted and will drastically decline.”
Furthermore, the petition fears that “should he (Johnson) remain, Tuskegee University will surely follow in the likes of Morris Brown college or Knoxville College.”
Morris Brown College ran out of money several years ago when it lost federal student aid funding. Although the doors are still open Morris Brown has less than 100 students. It was recently reported that Knoxville College has only eleven students.
The petition closes by stating it gives a “Vote of No Confidence” to Trustee Board Chairman, Charles Williams, largely because Williams orchestrated to firing of the last president and the hiring of Johnson.
Efforts to reach Johnson prior to publication deadlines were unsuccessful.
Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Those are very serious occurrences . Certainly not befitting for a President of my distinguished Alma mater.
Tuskegee AD Curtis Campbell should be released, fired or dismissed. He’s a joke!
As a Tuskegee grad, I have not participated in the filing of this petition. Can you name the originators of the petition? I know many Tuskegee grads who did NOt participate in this as well as those who will NOT decrease giving to our beloved Alma mater because she will withstand the test of time.
Saint Paul’s College, an HBCU in Lawrenceville, VA just closed it’s doors in June 2014. They lost accreditation
and ran out of money as well.,
A distinguished historical university (Tuskegee) left to chance and become at-risk. Trust the Tradition/Trust the Trajectory are buzz words and a slogan from the new administration. Moreover, what is the meaning of this slogan. Do these words add to substantiate the existence of Tuskegee now and in the future, as well as, in the overall of mise of universal change. Can “buzz words” or “slogans” alone ensure that Tuskegee University’s mission will grow and thrive for future generations to come. Often, such requires stepping outside of ones comfort zone and embracing change, This petition is about institutional change at the very top (president and board chair).
must be Tuskegee Alumni must learn from the Knoxville College, Morris Browns, St. Paul, as other almuni
The arrogance of this so called leader is something all concerned alumni, students and supporters of Tuskegee University should be wary of. As an alumni with a daughter enrolled there, I find it disturbing that Mr. Johnson has not directed funds to improve student housing but has absolutely no problem spending funds sprucing up the Presidents quarters. There has been more than enough concern about this man to warrant a “Federal” investigation. An independent “audit” of how this man is misappropriating funds that should be used for student welfare and safety. Calling any and all Alumni who are either attorneys or involved in law enforcement on a state of federal level to push for an investigation into how this University is being used as a cash cow by this want to be gansta.
Thank you Lt. Col Brown for your call to action.