The national controversy surrounding Morehouse College and the future of its leadership came to a surprising conclusion this afternoon, as the entire officers group of the board of trustees and its president resigned this afternoon during a scheduled board meeting.
Board Chairman Robert Davidson and President John Silvanus Wilson stepped down from their respective positions effective immediately, and a new board chaired by Willie Woods announced William ‘Bill’ Taggart as interim president.
Citing efforts to improve its governance structure, the board specifically thanked Davidson for his voluntary resignation. The board did not offer similar language for Dr. Wilson, whom some former board members and faculty accused of leaking documents and using media outreach to force a board reconsideration of his non-renewal, and a faculty vote of no-confidence in Davidson.
The controversial leadership battle ends after several weeks of tense reaction from the campus community and national media coverage, which has revealed a long history of bad communication between Dr. Wilson and the board.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week revealed portions of a letter written by executive consultants hired by Morehouse, who told the board that too many alumni with too many personal agendas were creating muddled views of fiduciary responsibility to the board, and that Dr. Wilson has been uneven in communication and transparency with the full board.
In March, the Root published internal memos between the school’s executive leadership as a showcase of an improving institution plagued by executive infighting and personal dislike.
But according to financial documents available on the Morehouse website, total revenues and investments declined by more than $20 million between 2013 and 2015, which included more than $1 million lost in Pell Grant funding, $8 million lost in endowment returns, and just under $12 million lost in private grants on contracts.