Many students and alumni of Alabama State University breathed a sigh of relief last week as the resignations of Elton Dean, chairman of ASU’s board of trustees and vice-chairman Judge Marvin Wiggins were demanded by Gov. Robert Bentley and ASU student government association president Darren Dubose. Dean’s willingness to offer his resignation and Wiggins subsequent refusal and removal by Bentley was seen by many as a symbolic rebirth for ASU and the beginning of the end of a painful and embarrassing chapter in our university’s history.
The media coverage of the financial corruption, sexual harassment lawsuit, alleged conflicts of interest by Dean and Wiggins, multiple credit downgrades over a nine-month period, and a six-month warning issued by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in charge of ASU’s accreditation was particularly scathing, and at times, rightfully so.
But just as students and alumni began to think they’d open their newspapers or log online to read something positive about ASU, Donald Watkins, pro bono lawyer to the university quickly extinguished that small kernel of hope in a blatant character assassination disguised as an “apology” for the role he played in the hiring of new ASU president Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd.