Alabama A&M Trustees Form a Human Shield Around Embattled President Daniel K. Wims
By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on November 5, 2023
An Editorial Opinion
In the wake of recent media reports about embattled Alabama A&M University President Daniel K. Wims' failed leadership, a majority of the university's board of trustees has formed a human shield of sorts around Wims. These trustees include Roderick D. Watts (chairman of the board), Kevin Ball, Tiffany Johnson Cole, Richard Crunkleton, Ralph Williams, Scherrie Banks Pickett, John Hackett, Jr., and Elizabeth B. Richardson.
Two of the trustees -- Nichelle Gainey and Ginger Harper -- voted against Wims' appointment to the presidency in October 2021. This puts them on the right side of history.
Gov. Kay Ivey, who serves as president of the board by virtue of her office, has already extracted from Dr. Wims what was important to her – a de facto waiver of collection activities relating to the $527,280,064 debt owed by the state of Alabama to the university. As long as Alabama A&M does not pose a competitive threat to the University of Alabama at Huntsville's growth and prosperity, Ivey is fine with Wims remaining in the presidency.
As president, Dr. Wims is the chief executive officer and public face of Alabama A&M University. By law, the trustees are the guardians of the public's trust and interest in the university and its educational affairs. They also oversee and supervise the conduct of the university's president.
For whatever reasons, the pro-Wims trustees do not appear to care whether Dr. Wims is an alleged sexual predator, or not. They do not seem to care whether Dr. Wims allegedly pressured male and female employees for sex, or not. They do not appear to care whether Dr. Wims obtained the presidency in 2021 under false pretenses in a "rigged" selection system, or not. They do not seem concerned about Wims' de facto waiver of the state’s $527,280,064 debt to Alabama A&M. And, they do not care that Dr. Wims is transforming Alabama A&M into a base camp for MAGA operatives.
The pro-Wims trustees are prepared to “ride or die” (figuratively speaking) with Dr. Wims, regardless of the amount of reputational damage and harm Wims’ continued presence on campus causes to Alabama A&M and the "victims" of his alleged sexual harassment.
Interestingly, not one of the 41,737 readers (as of November 4, 2023) who have viewed my published articles on Dr. Wims since October 8, 2023, has publicly or privately expressed any support for Wims' embattled presidency.
It appears that the pro-Wims trustees who are shielding him from public accountability for his actions as provost and president are completely out of touch with the public's lack of confidence in Dr. Wims' leadership.
The upcoming articles in this series of reports will introduce the public to new aspects of Dr. Wims’ suppressed history and checkered past that have evaded public exposure.