David A. Thomas met the press for the first time Friday as Morehouse College’s new president.
Here are his responses on some matters. The comments about Trump were made during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the news conference.
On how he and Morehouse staff can improve student performance: “Putting a more invasive or more intervention-oriented advising system. Rather than waiting for a student to be in my office, I’m asking them about graduation and he has his head down, we know that there are metrics that if we track them they become like a dashboard that lets us know, here’s a student we need to intervene with.”
On how he’ll judge his success as president: “I won’t really know if I’m a success until we’re five or 10 years beyond my tenure and I see what the next generation is able to do with the platform I’ve left. In the meantime, I gauge how I’m doing by how well I’m bringing people in the institution along to create our shared agenda of where we’re going.”
On the federal government’s role in assisting Morehouse: “I think the federal government can help, one, simply by doing no harm. By not undoing some of the policies and mechanisms that have been put in place out of recognition of our unique role that (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) play ... I think the federal government finding ways to make it easier for students to finance their education would be very helpful to us, given that something like 85 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid.”
On alumni support for Morehouse: “Every Morehouse alum should take responsibility for helping to recruit students to come to Morehouse, to at least take a look at Morehouse. Our best advertisement for what we do is is our alumni.”
On President Donald Trump’s reported remarks about Haiti and some African countries: “I think it was unfortunate. I think it’s always unfortunate when a leader makes statements that are broadly disparaging of any group because there’s no way to separate out you, as an individual, from the position that you hold, so for the president of the United States to make statements regardless of his intent that can broadly interpreted as casting disparately on a group of people, I just can’t find any way it’s helpful.”
To read more about some of his other goals and his plans to address some ongoing campus issues, click here.