JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Tougaloo College President Carmen Walters announced she will step down as president of the Jackson college effective June 30, 2023.

“I am overjoyed by all that my administrative team and I have accomplished since my arrival in July 2019. While navigating through a devastating pandemic and combating record-breaking low enrollment for HBCUs nationwide, Tougaloo College made significant strides. I celebrate this progress with our entire Tougaloo family, including our students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and alumni,” she said in a statement.

This announcement comes after the Tougaloo Alumni Coalition started a petition to remove Dr. Walters from her office.

The petition said the school’s administration is failing its students and staff. Walters refuted those claims that her administration is neglecting the school.

The petition said enrollment rates are at a 40-year low. Walters blamed the pandemic for the dwindling number of students.

Walters said the school is partnering with outside agencies to recruit more students. Tougaloo is also working to hire more staff. Walters said she is expecting the number of students and staff to improve by the fall.

The Tougaloo College Board of Trustees announced that it unanimously appointed Donzell Lee, Ph.D., to serve as the interim president.

Donzell Lee (Courtesy: Tougaloo College)

Lee will step in to lead the college in an interim capacity, effective July 1, 2023, as the Board of Trustees conducts a national search for the college’s next president.