Tony Atwater Fired as President of Norfolk State University

President-AtwaterThe governing board of Norfolk State University in Virginia voted 7 to 4 to oust the institution’s president, Tony Atwater. Provost Sandra J. DeLoatch was named acting president.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had recently notified Norfolk State that there were “significant accreditation-related issues” at the university. And last spring the state legislature raised questions about accounting problems. Atwater was given the choice of resigning or being fired.

“I felt on a matter of principle that I, quite frankly, did not wish to resign,” Dr. Atwater told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “To resign indicated I was accepting some part of responsibility for something negative, and I did not believe I did something negative to the university. I felt on a matter of principle that I could not immediately resign, so the only other option was immediate termination.”

Dr. Atwater was named the fifth president of the university in April 2011. He formerly was president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Youngstown State University. Earlier he was dean of education at Northern Kentucky University and chair of the department of journalism and mass communication at Rutgers University.

Dr. Atwater is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in communication research from Michigan State University.

For the time being, Dr. Atwater will remain at Norfolk State as a tenured professor and continue to receive his salary. His contract expires next June.

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