Talmadge Fair, whose membership on the Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees is in question, said he has started a petition drive to remove the school’s president, Ronald Carter, and Trustees Chairman Monroe Miller, among others.
In an email sent to Qcitymetro, Fair said he began the “Vote of NO-Confidence Petition Campaign” during the school’s recent homecoming weekend.
“My experience, as a Trustee, has provided me with enough evidence and concern to conclude that if JCSU is going to be viable and competitive beyond 2017 some bold and significant changes have to be made starting with the current leadership,” he said in the email.
Specifically, Fair said he was most concerned about the school’s financial situation, low morale among staff, and the recent departure of key administrators, including Elfred Pinkard, the school’s former executive vice president and chief operating officer, who resigned just before the start of the current academic year.
Fair said the university has been slow in paying its bills and in March was listed among more than 500 colleges and universities the U.S. Department of Education is concerned about and has placed under increased financial oversight.
“My conversations with past and present faculty and administrators, solicited and unsolicited, have provided a clear message — If we want to save the school we love and care about and ensure our kids and grand kids will want to and be able to go to the school we love, then the alumni community must demand that things be done differently,” he said.
In an email response sent to Qcitymetro, Miller, the trustees chair, said the following:
We regret that Talmadge Fair, a former member of the Johnson C. Smith University Board of Trustees, has chosen to start this petition. Johnson C. Smith University has made significant progress over the past seven years. Our work is paying dividends as we attract the attention and funding of major foundations and corporations. We will continue our forward trajectory as a student-centered new urban institution dedicated to applied research, intellectual rigor in our undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, as well as strong partnerships and engagement with the Charlotte community.”
Fair’s status on the board apparently remains a topic of dispute. In a telephone interview with Qcitymetro, Fair said the trustees chair had once reprimanded him for not being a “team player” after Fair raised what he characterized to Qcitymetro as legitimate questions about the university’s operations. Fair said he was later notified by Miller that he had been voted off the board.
Fair said he still considered himself a trustee because he had not received official notices from the board itself. He also said he had not been given an explanation for his disputed removal.
As of late Friday, Fair, a 1961 JCSU graduate and head of the Urban League of Greater Miami, was still listed on the university’s website as trustee.