A new leadership team will try to move Morehouse College forward after a weekend turnover that resulted in the appointment of new leadership at a board meeting, according to an announcement from the HBCU.
The Morehouse College Board of Trustees released a statement saying William Taggart, the school’s chief operating officer since 2015 will become interim president and board chariman will be Willie Woods, who is co-founder of ICV Partners, a New York-based finance company, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Along with Woods on the board will be new officers, vice-chairman John Thornton; treasurer Richard Thaler; secretary Harold Martin and assistant secretary Dr. Dorothy Yancy.
“With this new chapter, the Board is keeping both institutional priorities and student centricity at the forefront,”said Johnathan Hill, President of the Morehouse College Student Government Association in a statement. “I appreciate the collaborative culture of this new leadership, and know that we will as stakeholders continue to hold one another accountable.”
Leaving their leadership roles are John S. Wilson, who had served as president of the college since 2013 and former board president Robert Davidson. The board decided in January not to renew Wilson’s contract and he was set to leave in June. It is unclear what spurred the decision to remove to two school officers last Friday. But the board has fallen under criticism from students, faculty and alumni for not allowing trustees to cast votes on Wilson and not sharing information about the decision not to renew the contract, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The school said that it has “heard the voices of students, faculty, alumni and many other key members of the Morehouse family who have called upon all of those who love this historic institution to put aside our differences and put Morehouse and our mission first.”
The all-male Atlanta school, which has 2,100 students and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, has run into financial problems in recent years. Wilson, a 1979 graduate took over as president and slashed operating expenses by $2.5 million and cut or downsized 75 positions. But the moves did not please everyone and led to disagreements between the board, faculty and alumni on the direction of the institution.
But the school is moving ahead with a search for a permanent president while re-engaging with those who have been critical of leadership decisions in the recent past. “We are re-engaging parents and potential students in the same way we are engaging prospects and our existing donor base to make them confident and assure them that we have a good, stable leadership team in place,” Taggart told the Journal-Constitution.