The petition by the Tougaloo Alumni Coalition said the school’s administration is failing its students and staff. The president refuted those claims that her administration is neglecting the school.
An online petition by the Tougaloo Alumni Coalition demanded President Carmen Walters to be removed from her position.
“We’ve had faculty, staff, and students that have complained to us the morale is very low. There are students leaving the campus weekly because of poor leadership,” said Felix Lawson, former president of Atlanta Tougaloo Alumni Chapter.
The petition said enrollment rates are at a 40-year low. President Walters blamed the pandemic for the dwindling number of students.
“Enrollment, as you know, is a challenge across the nation post COVID, and many schools are affected more strongly than others,” said Walters.
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.
“Attracting strong people takes time. It’s not that it isn’t happening. People are filling jobs, and we are filling jobs. It’s just trying to find the best and the brightest,” she stated.
Some alumni believe Walters has had more than enough time to make improvements. One current student who spoke with WJTV 12 News said he disagreed with the Alumni Coalition’s statements.
“The environment, the staff are great, the teachers are great, and the president has been doing a phenomenal job,” said Sherman Johnson, a student.
Walters said despite the recent setbacks, she believes Tougaloo is headed in the right direction.
“We are working with students who are concerned about certain things,” said Walters. “Our strategic plan is guiding us. Our faculty are at the table working, doing what they do well.”
Walters has no intentions of stepping down from her position.