The Governor talks about Auburn University for the first time since President William Walker resigned. We caught up with the Governor while attending one of the Martin Luther King, Jr. tributes in Montgomery.
The Governor's day included escorting the city's "Mother" of the civil right's movement from the capitol building to the podium to speak to the waiting crowd. After Johnnie Carr paid her tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Governor also said a few words in honor of this holiday. It was afterwards that the Governor explained what actually led up to Auburn's President Dr. William Walker's sudden resignation last Friday. Reporters were ready with questions. "Governor, did you ask for Dr. Walker's resignation? No. Did you have somebody else ask for his resignation? No."
But, if the Governor didn't ask Walker to step down apparently the Board of Trustees was ready to do it. It seems the votes were there to ask the former president to resigned because the Governor says he talked with each trustee personally. "I expressed to each one of the Board of Trustee members that I thought that we needed a new direction that we needed a new philosophy and we needed new leadership. And, what was their response? Mixed. But, obviously you must have had enough people on the board to agree with you in order for this to have happened? Obviously."
The Governor says he plans to suggest to the Board the name of State School Superintendent E Richardson as interim president. Richardson is currently a non-voting member of the board because of his position. Andy Hornsby of the Auburn Alumni Association says, "I think Ed would be a good interim. My concern is he comes off of this board of trustees that has nine votes of no confidence that is a concern. I'm anxious to talk with him to see what his plans are to regain the confidence of those nine constituent groups." if the board approves Richardson's appointment as interim president...that will bring the total number of vacancies on the board to five out of fourteen members. That includes the three that are already filled, but not voted on yet by the senate. And the fourth vacancy was created by the death of President Pro-tem Jimmy Samford. Three years ago voters approved a constitutional amendment to turn Ed Richardson's non-voting seat into an at-large seat once he leaves the Board.