The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 1, 2008

Alabama A&M president fired by board of trustees

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama A&M; Board of Trustees voted Monday to fire university President Robert Jennings.

The board voted 7-1 to fire Jennings immediately for allegedly not properly documenting more than $2,000 that was paid to an assistant, university spokesman Jerome Saintjones said in a statement.

For the past several months, a special board committee has been looking into allegations that Jennings had improperly arranged to pay a former executive assistant for time that was spent attending a graduate course in Minnesota.

The board voted down a motion to hire former President Carl Harris Marbury to serve as president on an interim basis. The board did not name an interim president or a permanent replacement for Jennings.

Jennings quietly left the meeting after the board’s vote without commenting.

The board voted to fire Jennings after being in an executive session for about an hour, according to the statement from Saintjones.

Jennings had been president of the Huntsville college since January, 2006. He was accused of violating school policies in the hiring of an executive assistant and for paying the assistant more than $2,000 for time spent away from the campus, The Huntsville Times reported on its Web site.

Jennings has maintained the payment was not improper and that the assistant made up for the hours he was away with extra work.

Jennings had also been accused by an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science of being involved in having the grades of some students changed without the teacher’s consent.

Jennings has denied directing anyone to change the grades. In a university statement Friday, department chairman Venkata Atluri said Jennings had “nothing at all” to do with changing grades.

Jennings came to Alabama A&M; from Wake Forest University.

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