Floyd L. Griffin, a retired Colonel in the United States Army has announced his intentions to seek the Chairmanship of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees. This position will become open in March and is expected to be filled during the Board’s annual spring meeting.
If successful Griffin will replace corporate attorney John Page, who has chaired the Tuskegee Board since 2015.
Recently, Page has been the target of concerned Tuskegee alumni. They have waged a letter writing campaign to the Board of Trustees not to nominate Page for another term as chairperson of the Board.
In a letter to the Board, Griffin said he decided to seek this position after he had “been inundated with telephone calls, emails and letters from members of the Tuskegee family…”
“The morale of the alumni is down. There is a sense that the chairperson of the board has a condescending attitude when addressing members of the alumni community. This sentiment was also expressed by civic leaders of the city of Tuskegee,” Griffin wrote.
In the schools 137-year history only one other Tuskegee alumni has been chairperson of the Board of Trustees. At other elite HBCUs, the chair of the board is an alumnus.
Also, less than half of the members of the Tuskegee board comes from the ranks of the alumni. This is not the case with other HBCUs.
Griffin, 73 years-old and a Milledgeville, Georgia Mortician said that his candidacy will address this disparity head on. He pledged his tenure as chairman will seek to develop younger alumni on the board to succeed him.
“I pledge to work to improve relations with all Tuskegee alumni to stop the bickering between the board and concerned alumni,” Griffin wrote.
The family of the university’s first principle, Booker T. Washington, has submitted a letter to the Board of Trustees announcing their support of Griffin as the next board chairman.
In a letter signed by Marshall Cabiness-Washington, the oldest living male descendant of Washington, the family expressed their support in Griffin:
“Everything about Floyd Griffin reminds me of the thousands of illustrious early Tuskegee alumni who were the personification of “that old Tuskegee spirit,” Cabiness-Washington wrote.
“It is my firm belief, and the belief of the family of Booker T. Washington, that Colonel Floyd Griffin is right person, at the right time, to be the leader and guide of the governing body of our illustrious alma mater, Mother Tuskegee,” the Washington family wrote.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org