By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama State University Board of Trustees has the votes to fire embattled university president Gwendolyn Boyd on Friday and will do so unless Boyd negotiates her resignation prior to the meeting, two sources close to the trustees told The Alabama Political Reporter.
The sources also said that attorney Dorman Walker, who the board hired to navigate its suspension and planned termination of Boyd, was authorized by board members to negotiate a resignation that would possibly pay Boyd a portion of the two-plus years remaining on her contract at the school. But as of late Tuesday, the sources said, Boyd had rebuffed all attempts at negotiating and her attorneys informed Walker that she would only accept continuing as president at the school.
That position, the sources said, has bewildered trustees who believed they made it clear at a meeting in November that they were unhappy with Boyd’s performance and the direction of the university.
“I’m honestly at a complete loss as to how she believes she could possibly continue on given the feelings that are there among board members, because it’s not like those feelings were hid from her during that last meeting,” said one current ASU trustee, who spoke with APR on condition of anonymity.
Boyd has been on administrative suspension since trustees surprised her during a Nov. 4 board meeting by voting to begin the termination process for her. Trustees have cited as cause Boyd’s failure to maintain the confidence of the board – a valid cause for termination according to her contract with the school.
The trustees also sent Boyd a letter that provided some details on their displeasure with her performance. According to a source, the one-and-a-half page letter was originally more than four pages long when it was sent to Walker, who trimmed it down to the most pressing issues.
Among those issues were Boyd’s “failure to be forthright in communications with board members,” inadequate fundraising, failure to act with integrity, failure to have a positive relationship with legislative leaders and the declining morale of students and faculty.
At a Nov. 14 meeting, Boyd, who was represented by famed civil rights attorney Fred Gray, attempted to address some of the trustees’ concerns and asked them for specific examples of the issues they noted. But the meeting turned into the two sides – including several trustees who remain loyal to Boyd – arguing about the allegations.
Following the meeting, Boyd said she remained optimistic that she could work out her differences with the trustees and continue as president. Several of the eight trustees who voted against her continuing as president, however, said they didn’t see a way forward.
Since that time, trustees say they have uncovered more “concerning news” relating to the operation of the university under Boyd – matters that she didn’t relay to the board.
A request for comment from the university was not immediately answered on Wednesday.