Amid Student Protests, Virginia Union President to Finish Contract on Sabbatical

A student-created petition calling for the ouster of Virginia Union University President Claude Perkins is at the center of a controversial sabbatical Perkins will take beginning in July, and finishing at the end of his contract term in 2017.

WWBT in Richmond reports on the unusual executive departure of the school’s twelfth president, whom trustees lauded last week as a catalyst for campus improvements in capital projects, academic development and record enrollment since his appointment in 2009.

But students have a different perspective of Perkins, citing low quality in food service and housing conditions, and an uncaring tone from campus executives in response to student complaints.

We are tired of this family being treated with disrespect to our money and to our education. Virginia Union University needs someone who actually care about the students and treats us like adults. We at Union are living under terrible conditions from mold to no hot water for weeks at a time, lack of necessities, and most importantly FOOD.

Last fall, a parent of a Virginia Union student told local media that Perkins directly instructed him to “take your student and your money and leave if you’re not happy with the way things are going,” during a controversy about overbooked campus housing assignments.

A former academic executive at Albany State University, trustees praised Perkins’ service to the university and said that he would stay as a consultant as the university works to install an acting president and develop leadership priorities for the university’s next executive search.

“We granted it with regret,” (VUU Board Chairman W. Franklyn) Richardson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “He’s been so sacrificial in his leadership that we want to be supportive in whatever he feels necessary for this stage of his life.”

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