John Page Is On the Run At Tuskegee
John Page, Chairman of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees is on the run. He is running to keep his position as board chair of the illustrative and historic Tuskegee University.
Last month, John Page drew opposition from Retired Army Colonel Floyd Griffin who entered the race after repeated calls from alumni and other board members to toss his hat in the ring.
Griffin has secured the endorsement from the family of the school’s first principal Booker T. Washington and this week the Tuskegee National Alumni Association (TNAA) voted overwhelmingly to endorse Griffin for chair.
Earlier, Griffin had secured the endorsement of the powerful Concerned Tuskegee Alumni, an independent association of alumni who organized when the national body failed to notify the board that the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Association had issued a no vote of confidence in President Brian Johnson.
Johnson was eventually terminated when his contract was not renewed.
To counter alumni efforts to acquire an alum as chairperson of the board, John Page has caused two documents to be released to the Tuskegee community.
First, he released minutes of board meetings, which has been a bone of contention of alumni groups for several years. Although, Page released a semblance of board minutes, it did not give any detail explanation of board activities nor did it disclose any financial records.
Alumni have been calling for a release of a financial report throughout Page’s tenure as chairman of the board. He has been stubbornly litigious in refusing to release financial records.
Second, Page released a joint statement on the state of the university that was signed by himself, the Interim President and the Provost. An obvious signature was missing from this joint statement. Bert Rowe, President of TNAA was prohibited from signing off on this statement as a result of the vote taken by regional alumni presidents on a Monday night conference call.
Alumni are calling BS on this joint statement and the purported minutes of recent board meetings.
One alumni leader said, “Page just does not get it. He thinks that the Tuskegee graduate is less smart than graduates from predominantly white institution. Why is he being transparent now? We have asked for board minutes for the last three years and he always has some excuse for why he can not release them. Where are the financial records? Why can’t taxpaying Alabama citizens see how the university spends the tax dollars they receive from the state? Why is it that alumni can not attend board meetings?
If things were not bad enough, today Page received news that Dr. Matthew Jenkins, a former Interim President of Tuskegee has issued a letter to board members urging them not to renew Page as board chair.
In his letter to the board, Jenkins notes that “The Matthew and Roberta Jenkins Family Foundation has donated in excess of $12 million to deserving students and academic institutions including… financial donations to the College of Veterinary Medicine and to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s past renovation projects. ”
In no uncertain terms, Jenkins writes to the board, “…I must express my great disappointment with Mr. John Page’s performance as board chair.”
“At this time, Mr. Floyd Griffin is well suited to be elected chairman of the board of trustees. His background in the Georgia state senate and as a city’s mayor gives him the abilities required to chair the University’s board. Mr. Griffin understands the past and current challenges of Tuskegee,” Jenkin wrote.
Should Griffin become the next chair of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees, it will mark the first time that the alumni influenced the selection of the board chair in the 137 year history of the “Pride of the Swift Growing South.”
John Page is running to block that history and to negate the influence of alumni concerned about the plight of their HBCU.
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
I guess I don’t understand why John Page doesn’t just leave. Who wants to be in a place where you’re not wanted. Page is just as bad as Dr. Johnson.
I notice that when Page had the audacity to tell my husband and I that he wasn’t aware of the ”Insensitive Johnson Letter”. That’s the letter that “Buffoon Johnson” sent me after my son was killed. And BJ was a Tuskegee Student too?
Others might have forgotten because it isn’t their child, but he was my Son.
And if every one in Hollywood can come out 20 years later and tell what happen to them sexually,
I Damn sure can tell how that board made me feel and both guys were members of the board at that time.
Page knew he was lieing because he was on the board and Floyd was too. I had written a letter to all board members. However to lie to my face was so damn demeaning in a meeting in Atlanta. Talking about adding insult to death, my son’s!
Floyd Griffin at least had the common decency to call us several times and apologizing for Dr. Johnson’s actions. Floyd didn’t have to interfere with Johnson’s problem. However Williams ( then current chair) did absolutely nothing even after I went on Television with the letter.
My son has been decease for 4 years now and can’t believe this bullshit is still going on. To a grieving mother that 4 years feel like yesterday.
Why would someone that’s “A Non Alum” want to manage that board, when you have absolutely “No Reason To Be On That Board, or Better Yet, No Interest.”
At least you will finally have a Tuskegee Alum managing the board and hopefully Floyd will surround himself with others that Genuinely Cares About Mother Tuskegee and start fixing the problems.
Page Get Out…
Preach Cynthia Smith! And I am so very sorry for your loss. I am indeed sorry that this is happening at your alma mater Michael. But I have noticed an unfortunate trend at a lot of HBCUs, and that is entrenched board members and presidents that stay too long. Any power held too long is always power corrupted. A similar drama is also going on at Hampton, but the students themselves have staged a walkout. I would urge folks to take a look at Spelman College (an-all female HBCU) and Agnes Scott College (an all-female predominatly white college) over their last 30 years. Both institutions (I attended both and graduated Agnes Scott) have not had college presidents that have stayed longer than 10-15 years. HBCUs suffer when college presidents and their minions on the board run these institutions like their own personal fiefdoms; and it is going to take a lot of pressure to get rid of these miscreants. However, it is also going to require a push for a different set of rules and regulations that may require term limits for both presidents and board members. Importantly, Tuskegee, like most institutions needs younger, fresher leadership.
The alumni have sent a unified message to the board. The Concerned Alumni For Change, the largest and most powerful group has made it clear they want to turn the Page. I will acknowledge I did believe these people were crazy and “Renegades”. Or at least that is how they were described at a meeting one time. We formerly uninvolved and disconnected alumni are awake now. I am not reluctant to say if it were not for this group I would not have a clue of what was going on at the school. Surprisingly even the docile lifeless TNAA has also spoken in support of Floyd Griffin.
Any trustee to go against the expressed will of the people must concede that they are willing to purposely disregard and ignore the outcry of alumni. Their alliance is not to Tuskegee University nor is their allegiance. Alumni must use their influence and encourage trustees to support and vote for Griffin.
Major donors and contributors to the Eminent Associates have made it clear, they support
Seeing the alumni unified gives Mother Tuskegee hope!
Mr. Jones, in the early days when I first sounded the alarm that something was wrong with the administration of the university, I was buked and scorned by fellow alumni who supported a non-alumni president over their fellow alum. I welcome other alumni to the fray. Together we can restore honor to our beloved Tuskegee University and assist in lifting the veil to generations yet unborn.I am told that Page has instructed other Trustees not to open emails from alumni, so they may not have received the message. If this turns out to be the case, the alumni must be willing to take strong and decisive action so the Board will know in no uncertain terms, that the alumni demand to be a co-equal partner in the preservation of the Tuskegee legacy.