by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW TO SAVE TIME HONORED BUILDINGS AT LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, WHICH JUST CELEBRATED ITS 160TH ANNIVERSARY:
There is indeed a petition here, and I definitely want you to sign it and circulate it to all your friends, relatives, political officials, well wishers, as soon as possible.
The efforts to negotiate in good faith with the recently hired LU president, Robert Jennings, have been to no avail; with my classmates using the best of their professional abilities, and maintaining civility in what is an emotionally charged situation, and those of you who have been loyal followers of my blog are probably saying, uh-oh, this looks kind of familiar – haven’t we been here before? And I have to respond, indeed, we have – it’s been just a little over a year since Medgar Evers College finally rid itself of a similar prototype in William Pollard.
And, being the kind of person I am, when I smell sulphur, I don’t wait to see the horns. It took Medgar Evers four years to finally rid themselves of Pollard, and the damage was devastating. Lincoln should not go through a similar struggle.
And, while I’m at it, Lincoln as well as other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are facing similar trials and tribulations at the hands of pseudo-administrators who are actually there to dismantle the schools as opposed to saving and expanding it. They talk a good game, but their actions are patently the opposite of what they claim to be about – and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. While the board of trustees are looking at PhD’s as being the measure of a good president, it would be better to look at where the person’s heart, mind and actions are – if they’re offensive and divisive, they are clearly not in the best interest of a school whose very nature is about cohesiveness, success and cooperative efforts. And if we’re not careful, Lincoln will end up being an elite subdivision, after having been driven into the ground and stripped of its best faculty and staff. It’s happened with other Black schools – Morris Brown should be a good example of what we face if we don’t act quickly, decisively and with determination.
I know that we Lincolnians like to keep things discreet – we tend to assume that we’re dealing with “reasonable” people. We don’t want scandal or issues to come to the front; we want to handle things behind the scenes – and that is precisely how we lost the BARNES ART COLLECTION – because we did not raise holy hell when the sellout was happening. We trusted the previous administrator and lost a legacy that was specifically designated for Lincoln University – bequeathed to us by Arthur Barnes himself. This is no time to be diplomatic or cute or discreet; it’s time to open up our mouths and be heard. As they say in New York City: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!!!
Time to pull off the gloves and get down and dirty – when you’ve got a snake in the grass, you have to deal with it the way it is – and while petitions are good, we definitely have to take much more stringent measures – so I’m calling a spade a spade – literally. Lincoln University has been saddled with an ersatz president, Robert Jennings, who has made it patently clear that he has absolutely no regard, respect or care for the school, the alumni or the history. JENNINGS MUST GO!!!
The insult is that there were several other great candidates for President of Lincoln University, who would not only have been more in keeping with the traditions that made it great, and would have not come in under the guise of blackness, while systematically dismantling and demoralizing the moral of the faculty, staff, students and loyal alumni. From the outset, Jennings has made a concerted effort to block the Alumni Association’s access to the campus and its facilities.
Jennings, who arrived at Lincoln shortly before the commencement in 2012, stated that “everybody thought that what he was doing was great.” An interesting statement, since he had made it clear that he was planning to cancel the annual 155 year old Alumni week tradition where Lincoln Alumni return to Lincoln to welcome graduating students, reunite, hold fundraisers and sponsor an awards dinner. He made good his threat in 2013, and has since moved to block Alumni members access to facilities that had heretofore been open to them. JENNINGS MUST GO!
In May of this year, at the first Lincoln University Alumni Summit Conference, the Alumni Association voted to send Jennings a vote of NO CONFIDENCE” letter, detailing the many egregious actions leveled against the school and the alumni – the most pronounced of which is the threat to bulldoze 160 year old buildings that were hand built and part of the original campus – a campus, I might add that produced Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, Nnamde Azikewe, Kwame Nkruman, Cab Calloway, Gil Scott Heron – to build an unnecessary “welcome center.” The buildings on the campus are of historic value and should be deemed as landmarks. JENNINGS MUST GO!
Jennings also expelled 300+ students from Lincoln because of financial difficulties – something that has never happened in the entire history of the school, which has always had a reputation of working with students to ensure they receive an education. To send home 300 students is unconscionable, demoralizing, and shows there is no feeling, understanding or concern for the Black students whose care has been entrusted to him. JENNINGS MUST GO!
He has launched a so-called $10 Million fundraising campaign, demanding $1 Million from the very Alumni he has been disrespecting; and simultaneously continuing to pour good money after bad into events and activities that could have been better utilized to assist those 300 students who now face an uncertain future. He has demanded that before a student can be accepted into Lincoln 80% of their tuition has to already be paid up – clearly not someone who is working in the behalf of the Black student. JENNINGS MUST GO!
Having recently gone through getting rid of William Pollard, an ersatz president at Medgar Evers college in Brooklyn, it is patently clear that Lincoln University has been saddled with a similar personage in Jennings; he has been specifically sent to dismantle the college – and he, like William Pollard, is doing a very effective job. But it is our job as Alumni, citizens, residents and Black good people in general to not let that happen – to not deliver our HBCU – indeed the grandmother of all HBCU’s into the hands of a hired assassin – JENNINGS MUST GO
Not one building is to be destroyed, not one more student to be expelled, not one more Alumni member to be insulted by the likes of ROBERT JENNINGS – as I have stated before Alumni are forever, Presidents are hired, can be fired, and are temporary – our buildings are part of the living, enduring legacy and culture that is Lincoln University, and must stay. The integrity of Lincoln University must be protected from those who would enter into our gates with malice aforethought – and think they would be able to destroy under the guise of progress, what so many have given their life’s blood to build, grow and protect. JENNINGS MUST GO!!! REPLACE HIM WITH A PRESIDENT WHO WILL BE RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR SUSTAINING A WONDERFUL TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY – HAIL! HAIL! LINCOLN!!!
SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE OUR BUILDINGS – You do not have to be an alumnus to do so – please share this petition with others – and make it viral – we have to be about helping each other individually and collectively in our struggles.
Urgent! Please sign the petition to save Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall and let the Lincoln Univerity Board of Trustees know that you are outraged that they are willing to destroy the physical cultural heritage of the oldest Black college in America. The LU alumni group, Lincoln University Heritage Initiative (LUHI), learned last week that the Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall would be demolished in 5 or 6 weeks so that a new Welcome Center can be erected on that spot. The information was confirmed by Valerie Harrison, Esq., Lincoln University counsel on June 10, 2014. LUHI has intervened and the demolition is currently on hold. Your voices need to be heard NOW. Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall is the oldest building on our campus, erected in 1866 when the University was known as Ashmun Institute. In 1985 it was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because of its significance as the landmark of the first HBCU in America. A welcome center, if needed, should be placed near the center of the campus which is now further south on Baltimore Pike near the stadium, gymnasium, security entrance and plenty of parking. LUHI questions the use of taxpayer money to demolish a historic building and build a new, public welcome center at likely three to five times the cost of repairing a historic building that is part of our common legacy. If the Board is bent on spending money, let it be for conservation of resources and enhanced student scholarships, faculty and academic programs. Let the Board of Trustees know that you are opposed to the demolition of Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall!
Stay Blessed &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com