ASU Presidential Search Committee Meets, Two Members Absent


By Ashley Thompson

Governor Robert Bentley has requested Alabama State University stop looking for a president until he can address the findings of an audit, that include misuse of money and lack of governance.

A board of trustees usually hires a president for a university but because of the turmoil surrounding the departure of former president Joseph Silver, Alabama State University is using a search committee.

15 people are tasked with finding the school a new leader, even in the midst of controversy. Committee member Donald Watkins opened the meeting with a scathing response to the audit findings, questioning the credibility of the firm that conducted it, Forensic Strategic Solutions.

Just two people were missing from Thursday night's meeting, Larry Puckett and Georgette Varner. Alabama News Network asked committee members why they came despite Governor Bentley's request to halt the search. Marvin Wiggins, who is mentioned in the report says the search committee still stands regardless of the governor's wishes.

"The committee is still in effect and we've gotten the governor's request to halt the meeting but that's a board decision," he says. "And until the board gives the directive that the meeting of the committee is halted, we have to proceed."

Others with the committee echo Wiggins' feelings.

"If you've got walking around sense, you wouldn't ask that this thing be halted," says Watkins. "We've come too far, too long and what is it going to be halted for? Every candidate knows that we have a governor who is trying to micro manage the university."

Will the audit's findings keep quality applicants from taking the position? Committee Member Charlie Hardy says he believes that's possible.

"I do feel like based on the information I have read, that we probably should spend a little more time clearing up the climate before we would bring someone in to be head of the university."

And at the meeting were students who tell us they don't believe the search should continue.

"I'm not drinking the kool aid," says Steven Webb. "I'm conscious and I'm aware and I'm here to let them know that the things they've been doing are wrong and this needs to stop. I fully support Governor Bentley."

They have narrowed the search down to 11 candidates.

The next presidential search committee meeting will be November 6th.

All meetings are open to the public.





But ASU has ignored Bentley's request and is pushing forward.

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