Since ASU President Joseph Silver was suspended, hundreds of Alabama State University students and alumni are up in arms over the board of trustees’ decision, and following Friday’s board meeting, their chants only grew stronger.
“We want Silver, we want Silver!” chanted a group of people outside the board meeting.
“We don't want Harris back at all, he's a puppet for the board of trustees,” Joi Pearce, a senior student at ASU, said.
“Everyone is real emotional because of exams and now we have this and we just want right things to be done,” Sean Freeman, a junior student at ASU, said
“Are we wrong for fighting for what we need? Are we wrong?” asked Mark Myles, a sophomore at ASU.
It’s a fight students started as soon as word got out that new President Dr. Joseph Silver was suspended by the board of trustees.
“I've never seen President Harris, I've been a student since 2010, I see Dr. Silver walking across campus, I see him by the Heritage barber shop, that’s way off campus,” Pearce said, explaining how Silver is more connected with students.
The protesters have been in full force since Silver was put on administrative leave, but after trustees voted to bring in former ASU President William Harris as interim president, the hallway outside the meeting turned into an uproar.
“I feel like they are trying to go back to the old,” Freeman said, “This is what got us into this jam and this is what President Silver is trying to get us out of.”
“The board has their little click, so we don't need Dr. Harris in, we need Dr. Silver in,” Myles shouted. “We need to get rid of John Knight ASAP, and get rid of that board because they're not making decisions for the students.”
While the students can’t vote to reinstate Silver, they are making their voices heard through an online petition asking for signatures to fully bring back Silver.
“[Silver] changed so much in two months that Harris couldn’t even do in the time he was here,” Pearce said.
Current students, alumni and members of the community hope Governor Bentley's mandatory audit of ASU's contracts will make a difference in what they call, "ongoing corruption."
“President Silvers is telling the truth on what happens in the dark and those financial audits they're [filing] will shed the light,” Freeman said.
But until the Board reinstates President Silver, students say they will not silence their protests.