Trouble at Alabama A and M University - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Trouble at Alabama A and M University

The WAFF 48 Investigators have uncovered new information surrounding the evaluation of Alabama A & M's President, Dr. Robert Jennings.

Jennings' recent evaluation brought controversy both on and off campus. His evaluation was discussed by board members behind closed doors, which is illegal according to the state's Sunshine law.

The WAFF 48 Investigators sent the university's public relations department a letter asking for answers.

This letter dated June 12, 2007 states: "I write to request access to and a copy of any minutes of the Alabama A & M University Board of Trustees meeting held on Thursday June 7 to Saturday June 9 as well as any reports reviewed by the trustees regarding the job performance of A & M President Robert R. Jennings."

The first letter we sent was opened and then returned. The second sent by certified mail, we're told, never reached the campus.

So Tuesday July 3rd, we hand delivered the document to the president's office ourselves.

It is against the law for board members to go into closed session to discuss anything other than good name and character issues under Alabama's open meetings law.

And from this evaluation form the WAFF 48 Investigators recently uncovered, it is clear: job performance is the only issue in question.

Then in this interview during a board retreat last month, board president Shefton Riggins said," Job performance while may be part of it, per 'se, is not the only issue that was discussed".

In their evaluation of A&M's president, the board asks three questions. 1) How successful has the president been in creating an atmosphere of trust, integrity, unity, civility, purpose, and momentum within the university community? 2) How successful has he been in securing resources. 3) It asks for an evaluation of Jennings' effectiveness and relationship with the staff.

The staff came back with negative feedback to everything except the funding issue and in his final evaluation, board members agree.

Jennings brings funding to A&M unlike his predecessors,  but there are other issues and they also deal with money.

Dr. Earl Gooding raises concern about Jenning's administration.

Gooding said, "Not only the number of people in the administration... that has been significantly expanded but raising their salaries expanding their salaries-bringing in individuals-some individuals just with a bachelors degree and giving them really elaborate salaries-$70,000 and so forth...whereas faculty members found themselves facing this sort of threat so it was quite normal that the faculty becomes rather alarmed".

As for Jennings' administration, there is one former employee the WAFF 48 Investigators are looking into.

Inside sources say some board members are not even aware of at least one issue we've uncovered involving that employee and we'll reveal that information Monday at 10:00 p.m.

 

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