Tuskegee Board Should Fire Prez Today!
EDITORIAL, Let me be clear, Tuskegee University’s Board of Trustees should fire President Brian Johnson, today, preferably before the sun goes down, or depending upon where you are in the world, before it comes up.
Over the course of the past several years, I have written a series of news stories about the misadventures of Dr. Brian Johnson’s tenure at the helm of Tuskegee University. Although those stories were factual accounts of events at the university, members of the alumni and some student leaders discounted the factual basis of the articles and treated them as if they were opinion pieces.
Two weeks ago, one alumni had the unmitigated audacity to repost on a private Facebook page for Tuskegee alumni only, a piece where I broke the news that Tuskegee was about to have a reduction in force. This alumni asked other grads if this was a factual story. A week after my story was published, it was announced at a Tuskegee National Alumni Association Conference that the workforce would be reduced by 100 employees.
I won my first journalism award in 1977, long before many of my critics were born. I know the difference between a news story and a piece based on an opinion. Moreover, I did not play around at Tuskegee. I actually learned something when I was a student.
Let there be no question about it, this piece, “Tuskegee Board Should Fire Prez Today,” is an editorial. It is my considerable opinion, that Johnson has got to go! Fire him now!
He is about to run the university into the ground. If something is not done and done in a hurry the hard work of Lewis Adams, Booker T. Washington, Robert Russo Moton, Frederick D. Patterson, and Luther Hilton Foster will have been in vain.
Dr. Brian Johnson should be fired because he has proven to be incapable of raising money, maintaining the accreditation of the university and preserving the legacy of excellence that Tuskegee is known for all over the world.
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me is a quote attributed to Dr. Johnson by Dennis Elam, an assistant professor at Texas A & M University in his blog at www.themarketperspective.com. Professor Elam, follows trends in the market. His opinions are recognized in the industry as being reliable because they are based on sound judgment and research.
It seems that Elam has undertaken a study of the risks associated with student loan debt. His research suggests that a student loan bubble is on the horizon similar to the housing bubble that caused the economic downturn in 2008.
Tuskegee University’s paltry 45 percent graduation rate caught Elam’s attention, as did Dr. Johnson’s rather cavalier attitude towards the fact that it takes Tuskegee six years to graduate so few students.
According to Elam, Johnson defends the schools dilemma with this question: “And so the president asks ‘are we only going to take students that can graduate? The mission is important but so is survival.'”
To which Elam responded, “In other words, his school has to admit students it knows won’t finish just to pay the now bloated overhead, i.e, to survive.”
Elam drives the dagger further into Johnson’s shallow brain, “Well gee Brian, other than taking their tuition for false purposes, what [is] it the point of taking those who cannot graduate?”
If this is not enough to shame every member on the Board of Trustees into discharging their fiduciary duty and immediately firing Johnson, nothing can save the “Pride of the Swift Growing South.”
Moreover, I hate to tell you, but if in fact, what Johnson is quoted as saying is the Tuskegee scheme, the university is perpetuating a fraud on the government student loan program and there will probably be hell to pay.
Fire Johnson today. Do it before Tuskegee is faced with a student loan crisis like Morris Brown College. Fire him before we get so far down we can not get back up. Fire him before the feds come in and prosecute every member on the Board of Trustees for criminal negligence for allowing Johnson to admit unqualified students just so he can get federal student aid funds to pay the school’s bills. Do it and bring in a proven fundraiser. Do it and keep yourselves out of jail. Do it and preserve the wonderful legacy of Tuskegee University.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round; and the host of Beyond the Law with Harold Michael Harvey. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.