By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Two more people nominated to serve on Alabama State University’s Board of Trustees have been rejected by the Alabama Senate.
Houston attorney Claudine James and Fred Frost, a vice president at LogiCore Corporation in Huntsville were nixed by the Senate last week. Both were supporters of former president Gwendolyn Boyd, and Frost advocated for Boyd during her termination hearing in December.
Montgomery County Circuit Clerk Tiffany McCord and Brenda Hunter, a high-level government consultant, were both approved and will continue to serve on the board.
But the rejections are notable for one reason: it continues a string of rejections for the ASU board. In addition to the two this session, there were three rejections in 2016, two rejections in both 2015 and 2014 and one in 2013. Those 10 rejected nominees are more than any other college in the State for the last 10 years.
A source close to ASU said the recent string of rejections can be traced back to Gov. Robert Bentley’s intervention at the school in 2012, following claims made by a former university president that he was being pushed out in an effort to keep him quiet about fraud occurring on the campus.
Bentley pressured the ASU board into agreeing to a forensic audit. But quickly, the signs of political tricks were evident.
Bentley’s auditing firm produced a sketchy preliminary report that, oddly, included allegations of an affair for a board member, and ASU officials hired a former federal judge as its attorney in an attempt to stymie the flow of information from the school.
To date, the forensic audit, which began in Nov. 2012, is still ongoing, as is a state grand jury investigation of the school. However, no ASU employees have been charged with a crime, or even accused of one.
That episode left many at the school, and several black lawmakers in the Legislature, suspicious of the governor’s intentions. And they have sought to block most nominees who they feel are too close to Bentley.
With the high rates of attrition on the board, that tactic has paid off, as the board members who managed to gain confirmation voted in December to fire Boyd, who was also seen by many as loyal to Bentley.
The source said ASU and local lawmakers would now focus on getting new trustees nominated that share their vision for the campus, and not the one held by Bentley.