Celebrity Morehouse grads say college in “dismal state of affairs”

Samuel L. Jackson, others concerned about alma mater

Some of Morehouse College’s most prominent graduates are demanding answers from its board of trustees about the school’s direction, the latest fallout from its January vote not to renew the contract of its president when it expires in June.

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, actor Samuel L. Jackson and director Spike Lee wrote a letter dated Sunday questioning the board’s decision-making process, in an article posted on The Root’s website.

Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez reports.

“Morehouse College is at present drowning in acrimony,” the letter said. “Student leaders feel they have no voice, and are compelled to take you to court. The faculty has no confidence in your Board Chair. Your decision not to renew President (John S.) Wilson’s contract is inexplicable and you must now search for the school’s third president in 10 years.

“All of us in the Morehouse family -- students, faculty and alumni -- hold you, the Trustees, responsible for this dismal state of affairs.”

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Then- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson discusses the updates to the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington. (AP Photo/(Manuel Balce Ceneta)) (Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Johnson confirmed the letter in an email Wednesday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He referred to his 2014 commencement address at Morehouse, where Johnson extolled the values he learned at the college.

“We all love Morehouse,” Johnson said via email.


The board has said some of its rationale for not renewing Wilson’s contract must remain confidential. It has accused some faculty of sharing inaccurate information about the situation. The board is scheduled to meet Friday in Atlanta.

Faculty members are scheduled to meet Thursday with a representative of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which oversees accreditation for Morehouse and other colleges in the Southeast United States.


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