A former trustee of and pro bono legal counsel for Alabama State University has taken the gloves off in a recent attack of the university’s president, Gwendolyn Boyd. Former board member Donald Watkins wrote an article in the Montgomery Advertiser attacking Boyd, saying that she is a “drop-in president,” and implying that she has a “deep personal secret” that has been used as leverage to get her cooperation from another one of the board members.
Watkins also accuses Boyd of working with the Tea Party and Republican governor Robert Bentley as other serious concerns that he has about her presence on campus. Here are some other things that he said about her, which are less than flattering. Obviously, a letter like this being released to the public only serves to fuel the flames of internal discord that have continued to exist at the university.
Here are some excerpts from the letter:
By removing any member of the board of trustees who discharges his/her statutory duty by questioning Boyd’s administrative actions and extravagant expenditures, Bentley has established an “Imperial Presidency” in Boyd. After Bentley forced the resignation of Board Chairman Elton Dean and removed Vice-Chairman Marvin Wiggins from the board last week, the message from Bentley to the remaining trustees was clear – leave Dr. Boyd alone; she is the Governor’s overseer at ASU; and she is untouchable. For the first time in its history, the board of trustees is now afraid to exercise its independent supervisory role at ASU. As a result, Dr. Boyd reports only to Bentley, whose demonstrated loyalty and devotion is to the University of Alabama, not ASU.
He also said that Boyd isn’t on campus as much as she should be for a person receiving a $300,000 per year salary. In fact, he seems to feel that she’s more interested in being a pastor than being a president:
Apart from lacking the requisite skills to be an effective university president, Dr. Boyd, who is paid a full-time annual salary of $300,000, is actually a part-time executive employee. She works for ASU about four days per week. Dr. Boyd sprints out of town every Thursday or Friday to advance her ministerial career. When she leaves town, no trustee knows where she is going. She makes no prior request for permission to travel nor does she seek approval of her travel expenses by the board of trustees. For the first time in ASU’s history, we are dealing with a “drop-in” president.
He then drops a bombshell in the letter about a “personal secret” that he claims is being used to control the president. This is when you can see that the fight has gotten nasty:
Finally, I am told that Dr. Boyd harbors a deep, personal secret. I believe Bentley knows about this secret and uses it as leverage to control Dr. Boyd. Others are starting to privately talk about this secret. I think it will come out over time.
In light of these factors, I have concluded that nominating Dr. Boyd as the president of ASU was a mistake. I am doing my part to correct this mistake. I sincerely appreciate Dr. Boyd’s talents as a motivational speaker and her photogenic Instagram pictures with students and dignitaries. However, ASU needs a full-time president who has substance as a chief executive officer and the ability to solve difficult problems. Cheering up a crowd of supporters, posing for photographs, and hugging students are the easy aspects of the job. The ability to return ASU to greatness in the face of a vicious gubernatorial assault is what the University needs, and this is the key ability that Dr. Boyd lacks. I thought she would be a great president. In reality, Dr. Boyd’s selection as president is the university’s greatest mistake.
Boyd received national attention last year when it was revealed that there was a clause in her contract stating that she couldn’t have visitors in her home overnight. This letter is the next step in a broader battle which started last week when Governor Bentley wrote a letter removing university trustee Marvin Wiggins from the board. In the letter removing Wiggins from the board, Bentley alleged that Wiggins’ wife had inappropriately received $30,000 from the university and that he’d failed to inform the university that his sister-in-law had been disbarred when she was hired as a faculty member at the school.Bentley also requested that Elton Dean voluntarily remove himself from the board as well. By being elected governor, Bentley is automatically made into the president of the ASU Board of Trustees. This gives him the power to remove board members and replace them with his personal selections, assuming they are approved by the Alabama State Senate.