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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Alabama A&M Attorney Rod Steakley is Tied to Group Pushing Project 2025

Updated: 19 minutes ago

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on July 6, 2024; Updated on July 7, 2024

Longtime Alabama A&M University Legal Counsel Rod Steakley is a director of the Alabama Policy Institute, which promotes the controversial MAGA Bible known as "Project 2025."

An Editorial Opinion

Thanks to actress Taraji P. Henson and MSNBC talk show host Joy Reid, everybody is talking about Project 2025.  This document is MAGA's World's political Bible for Donald Trump, should he win the presidency in November.

The first Advisory Board member listed in the Project 2025 document (at page xi) is the Alabama Policy Institute (API), a right-wing, ultra-conservative, non-profit think-tank closely aligned with Donald Trump and his MAGA movement. Trump's status as a convicted felon means absolutely nothing to API.

As we first reported in November 2023, longtime Alabama A&M University attorney Roderic G. “Rod” Steakley is a board member of API, along with his wife Linda Steakley.

Rod Steakley has held considerable sway over the actions of Alabama A&M for many years. University officials have often deferred to Steakley's judgment on the most critical matters facing the institution. One of those matters is Alabama A&M's entitlement to $527,280,064 from the state of Alabama, as discussed below.

On December 18, 2023, we "outed" API's and Steakley's ties to "Project 2025." Despite his ties to API and Project 2025, Rod Steakley still operates comfortably and with impunity within the bosom of Alabama A&M.

What Policies are Mandated in Project 2025?

The chart below summarizes the policy initiatives mandated in Project 2025, if Donald Trump wins the presidency in November. Many of them are overtly detrimental to Alabama A&M University and other historically black colleges and universities.

Project 2025's official name is the “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise.” As an Advisory Board member for Project 2025, API endorses and helps to implement its policies and goals for Donald Trump and his MAGA movement. 

How Does Project 2025 Negatively Impact Alabama A&M University?

Project 2025 calls for Donald Trump to rescind and/or clawback federal funding provided to land-grant institutions like Alabama A&M to compensate them for underfunding that was based upon their status as a historically black college or university.

Project 2025 would also allow the state of Alabama to continue its pattern and practice of giving Auburn University (the historically white land-grant institution in Alabama) more money per student than it gives Alabama A&M each year, without fear of legal consequences.

Since 2007, the state has funded Auburn $1,500 more per student than the amount A&M has been awarded.

On September 18, 2023, the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture notified the state of Alabama that it owed Alabama A&M $527,280,064, which is the aggregate amount the state has underfunded A&M over the past 30 years. Gov. Kay Ivey, a MAGA Republican and Trump loyalist, has disputed this debt.

The state's refusal to pay Alabama A&M this $527,280,064 for past discrimination in educational funding is consistent with the goals and objectives of Project 2025.

On the advice of Rod Steakley and President Daniel K. Wims, Alabama A&M’s board of trustees has elected to forego the collection of this $527,280,064 debt.


President Wims, a closet MAGA Republican, and his board of trustees have never: (a) acknowledged Alabama A&M's entitlement to this $527,280,064, (b) discussed it publicly, or (c) taken any steps to collect this money.  One of the primary reasons for this catastrophic failure of leadership on this matter centers on Rod Steakley and his direct involvement with API.


Should Donald Trump win the presidency in November (which seems highly likely based upon recent national polling), Project 2025 lays out the executive actions Trump will take in five broad policy areas affecting all federal government operations.  


Project 2025 calls for Trump to: (a) ban all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives mandated by the Departments of Agriculture and Education, and (b) rescind all federal directives requiring states to provide the funding needed to remedy past discrimination against blacks and women in educational institutions that receive federal funds. These actions ensure that the $527,280,064 debt owed to Alabama A&M by the state of Alabama will never be collected. 


This week, Donald Trump publicly backtracked from his previous commitment to implement the policies set forth in Project 2025 due to adverse publicity generated on this subject by Taraji P. Henson and Joy Reid.  Privately, however, Trump is fully committed to implementing all of Project 2025's policies.


Alabama A&M Never Attempted to Collect Its $527,280,064 Debt from the State


President Daniel Wims, a political sycophant of Gov. Kay Ivey, is marching in lockstep with Ivey, Rod Steakley, the state's MAGA politicians, and API to implement Project 2025’s political goals and objectives throughout Alabama.


After ten months of entitlement to collect its $527,289,084 debt from the state, no Alabama A&M University official has taken any action whatsoever to collect this money.


For the past ten months, President Wims has successfully gaslighted Alabama A&M students, faculty, staff members, alumni, and community supporters who questioned him about this $527,280,064 debt by simply saying he is “working on something” when, in fact, Wims has effectively waived A&M's right to collect this money through his inaction on this matter. 

In June, Wims was rewarded for this unprecedented sellout action with (a) a six-year contract extension that made him a multi-millionaire and (b) a show of adulation from the state's MAGA political community. Plus, Gov. Ivey has allowed Wims to handpick board members who willingly subordinate themselves to his de facto MAGA agenda. In exchange for these perks, Alabama A&M got royally screwed out of its $527,280,064.


Today, President Wims is stalling for time in the hope that Donald Trump will win the presidency in November. If this event occurs, Trump will officially nullify and rescind Alabama A&M’s entitlement to this $527,280,064 as soon as he takes office as president.


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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
5 days ago

Alabama A&M University is a captured Project 2025 school. A&M's president and board of trustees walked away from $527,280,064 in mandated equitable funding owed to the university since September 2023 just so they could please Project 2025 sponsors in Alabama. In doing so, they betrayed the entire Alabama A&M family.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Jul 07

Click here to see the board members who surrendered Alabama A&M University to Project 2025 control. Not one of these people has lifted a finger to get A&M's $527,280,064 from the state of Alabama.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Jul 07

Rod Steakley and his wife Linda are also listed as board members on the Alabama Policy Institute's Form 990 Tax Return for 2022.


Jul 07

Not only API won't mean anything to Donald Trump a convicted felon, if he's elected President this Fall, any crime he commit shields him from prosecution thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling granting presidential immunity.


Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Jul 06

President Daniel Wims' sellout of Alabama A&M University has made him a multi-millionaire. Last month, Wims was rewarded with a six-year contract extension worth millions of dollars for foregoing A&M's collection of its $527,280,064 debt from the state of Alabama. Plus, Gov. Kay Ivey allowed him to handpick university trustees who would go along with this sellout.

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