Leadership in Flux at Alabama State University

Joseph H. Silver, who became president of Alabama State University in September, was placed on paid administrative leave by the university’s board of trustees. Dr. Silver told a local television station, “The Board indicated they wanted me to resign, and I told them that that was not going to be the case.”

The board of trustees initially named executive vice president John Knight as interim president. Dr. Silver told local reporters that he had fired Knight, along with vice president of university relations Danielle Kennedy earlier in the day.

Students have held protests on campus demanding that Dr. Silver be reinstated.

In a prepared statement, Dr. Silver stated that he had come across some questionable financial items in contracts. “When I asked for clarifications, I did not get answers,” Silver said. “When I asked for supporting data, the data was withheld. I was placed on administrative leave because I raised a few probing questions, and I refused to go along to get along. That is not my operating style.”

The board of trustees was originally scheduled to meet on Thursday, November 29, but that meeting was postponed at the request of the governor of Alabama to Friday November 30. Trustees took no action at the meeting regarding Dr. Silver’s position due to the passing of his mother. The board did order an immediate audit of the university’s finances and named  William Harris, who was president before Silver as interim president.

Before becoming president of Alabama State, Dr. Silver was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Clark Atlanta University.

Dr. Silver is a summa cum laude graduate of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Atlanta University.

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