Students Interrupt ASU News Conference Chanting 'Bring Silver Back'

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By Jessica Gertler

From Montgomery -- Hundreds of ASU students and faculty members want the University's Board of Trustees to reinstate President Joseph Silver. He was put on administrative leave last night. Silver says it's because he said ASU is misusing funds.

"Bring Silver back! Bring Silver back! Bring Silver back," yell students.

Their cries echoed through ASU's campus. The protest started Tuesday morning after word spread that University President Joseph Silver had been placed on paid administrative leave.

Silver tells CBS 8 all he did was press issues about the way money was being spent, and says after he decided to fire Executive Vice President John Knight and another administrator, the board suspended him.

Knight denies those allegations.

"I don't have any information to give them on why he was put on administrative leave," says Knight. "The only thing I can do is respond to the allegations about a cover-up and misappropriation of money. That's never been called to my attention or the board's attention, and we have no knowledge of what he is talking about."

And in his press conference, Knight was interrupted by more than 500 chanting students and faculty members, who had found out about the conference during their student-lead meeting. The group walked across campus to ask the university to resend its actions and reinstate Silver.

Students say they will continue to pass out petitions and hold sit-ins until their questions are answered.

"That's what students do. That's their right. I respect that," says Knight.

We've been told that Silver's office locks have been changed, and he has no access to his office.

Students say they are also protesting through social media. They are asking students to use #savesilver in every tweet.

Governor Robert Bentley has asked that the Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Thursday be delayed until he returns to Alabama from a trip overseas so he can be there. We don't yet know whether the board will abide by the governor's wishes.

Silver has been ASU's president for fewer than 90 days. For now, the board has asked Knight to take over day-to-day operations.

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