After weeks of controversy surrounding a one-year extension of his original contract, Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson told a Crown Forum audience last October that he was not running from, or for the presidency of Morehouse, and that he would stay as president until God said otherwise.
But in a few weeks, the word of God may come in the form of a ballot, as the college’s upcoming national alumni association elections may decide Wilson’s future as Morehouse’s chief executive officer.
The Saporta Report today profiles several candidates for the association’s presidency, each of whom offer varying degrees of support for Wilson’s rocky three-year tenure, but near unanimous concern for the fiscal and social state of affairs for the nation’s only historically black all-male college.
“There is a big rift between the Alumni Association and the administration at the current time,” (MCNAA Presidential Candidate Joseph) Arrington reveals. “I understand that people are very upset with our present president and what’s going on with him. Hopefully that will be corrected. If the President needs to go, that’s what we have to do.”
Morehouse has contended with downgrades in bond rating, falling enrollment and crime near and on campus over the course of Wilson’s tenure, but stabilized its credit solvency and received a national bump over coverage of an incoming student spike in 2015; a claim which college officials later debunked.
Morehouse was recently placed at the center of a growing national debate on college administrative response to sexual assault, as current and former Spelman College students accused the school of failing to follow-up on reported assaults. Some graduates, like journalist Jared Loggins, say that the college remains unsafe space for LGBT students.
For graduates vying for the alumni seat on the college’s 35-member trustee board, leadership stands at a crossroads. From the Saporta Report:
“This is may be the most important Alumni Association election I have seen because of all the dynamics since I graduated in ’78,” opines Calvin Vismale, a self-described Morehouse loyalist who says he was baptized in theoretical finance there. “The alumni seat on the trustee board will have a crucial influence on the college leadership; who’s the next president hangs in the balance.”