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Friday, June 10, 2011

'Bama State searching for a Prez

Alabama State University has a sitting president with a contract that expires in August 2012, but the school's Board of Trustees has reconvened it's presidential search committee and said it is "highly likely" the school will have a new president when the process concludes.

Trustee Marvin Wiggins, who is leading the search committee, said they have not talked to the sitting president about extending his contract, only saying that trustees are working hard to bring in a quality leader to run the university.

"If he (the sitting president) applies for the job, that's his call," Wiggins said. "But right now we're preparing because of the expiration of his contract in August 2012."

Elton Dean, chairman of the Alabama State University board of trustees, said "it's just time" to begin the search.

"That was our plan pretty much when we suspended the search. That was our plan -- not to discontinue, but to suspend," Dean said. "Now it is almost a year out before the president's contract is up. We wanted to get the ball rolling again before that time."

"We don't think finding a president is going to be that easy so we wanted to give ourselves enough time to do a proper search," Dean said.

When asked how likely it was that Alabama State University would have a new president after the search, Wiggins said "highly likely."

ASU President William Harris, through a university spokesman, declined to comment on the situation.

Harris was president of ASU from 1994 to 2000. He returned in 2008 as interim president after the departure of Joe Lee. Harris has also served as president of Paine College and Texas Southern University.

Wiggins said Harris was initially the interim president and, as part of negotiating his contract extension, Harris "felt better with the title being president instead of interim president."

"All we did was change the title," the trustee said. He said there were no other new terms or benefits.


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