ASU Presidential Search Meeting To Continue, Despite Governor's Request To Halt It

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By Catalina Trivino

 Alabama State University is moving forward in the search for a new president tonight, despite calls from Governor Robert Bentley to temporarily stop the search following an audit that showed money being misspent.

Some ASU officials say a request from the Governor isn't enough to stop them from having this meeting. One search committee member says they've put in too much work to stop now.

Search committee member, Donald Watkins, believes the Governor is trying to discredit the university by halting the search.

"It makes absolutely no sense for almost two dozen people to spend countless hours of time and interviewing perspective persons to drum up interest for the candidate pool and vetting more than 60 people to stop this late in the game," Said Watkins.

He says their regularly scheduled meetings that have been going on since March. A video of ASU interim President, William Harris, was posted on Youtube and on the ASU website saying he feels like the school is under attack by the Governor's office.

"It would allow the Governor to handpick replacements and take control of the search for a new university president," Said Harris in the video. "Based on what has transpired, I can state with confidence that that is the goal and motivation of the Governor now."

That video was taken down from both websites later in the afternoon.

With the university moving forward with its meeting, the Governor released a statement regarding the Forensic Strategic Solutions audit. It stated, "The issues -- and questions raised by the FSS report are the basis for my request to temporarily halt the operations of the Presidential Search Committee.  I believe we can all agree the next president of ASU must be well-qualified as a leader, with financial acumen, strong ethics, and a record of academic achievement."

"I think people are trying to use the race card... Democrat versus Republican... when it's all about doing what's right," Said ASU student, Mark Myles.

The Governor's office tells us they will be holding a special board meeting with the full board of trustees to discuss the audit. While it has not been scheduled, he says the meeting will be in the coming weeks.

The case has been referred to the Alabama Attorney General's office and because Luther Strange provided legal services to the school, he has recused himself from the case. The AG's office says 24th Judicial Circuit District Attonry, Chris McCool, will handle the matter.