CASCADE PRESS (CP) Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, It is rumored that Dr. Brian Johnson, seventh president of Tuskegee University has been relieved of his duties at the university.
A call to Johnson’s office around noon central standard time could not confirm whether the rumor was true.
According to Robin Gray, Executive Assistant and Office Manager to President Johnson, the campus has been abuzz all day with talk that the President has been terminated.
“I can not confirm or deny the rumors,” she said. Then added, “All I can say is that I have not received an official word that he has been terminated, no one from the Board of Trustees or my boss, Dr. Johnson, has told me that it is true.”
Dr. Johnson is not on campus today. According to Ms. Gray, Johnson was not expected to be in his office today, as his calendar previously had him scheduled for traveling.
Johnson was appointed president by the board on April 29, 2014, following the resignation of Dr. Gilbert Rochon.
According to the university’s website, prior to coming Tuskegee Dr. Johnson was “the Interim Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant Provost/Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.”
The school’s press release announcing the appointment, boasted that the historical university had found “strong, energetic leadership in the new president.”
That fall,he quickly came under scrutiny from student activists and alumni when he banned a popular local pastor from the campus and had the pastor, Harold Lusk detained by campus police. After student protests, the ban was eventually lifted and Johnson was advised by the Board of Trustees to apology to Rev. Lusk.
The president came under additional attack from students and alumni when he failed to meet with Cynthia Smith, a mother grieving the loss of her son B. J. Smith, who was shot when strangers began firing handguns toward a group of students gathered at an off campus block party.
The president later met with Mrs. Smith, but had a court reporter to record every word that he spoke in the meeting. The court reporter did not record the words of Smith.
Last year the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club took a “No Confidence Vote,” on Johnson’s handling of the school’s accreditation problems.
When Johnson supporters inside the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club decided not to forward the “no confidence vote” to the board of trustees, a splinter group calling themselves “The Concerned Tuskegee Alumni” sprung up. This group led by Cathea Simonelton keep the pressure on the board calling for the firing of Johnson.
This is a developing story.We will follow-up as more information becomes available.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round, Easier to obtain Than to Maintain: The Globalization of Civil Rights by Charles Steele, Jr.; and the host of Beyond the Law with Harold Michael Harvey. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.