Search for new University of South Alabama president continues

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — South Alabama students are getting their chance to meet the three finalists for campus president. The job opened up earlier this year when Tony Waldrop announced his retirement, launching a nationwide search for a replacement.

“We need someone who is going to advocate and enforce things that will benefit us,” said Alexandria Danielle Lee, a senior at the University of South Alabama, and the Black Student Union President.

Students are hopeful the future president of South Alabama will have their best interest in mind.

“Help be a service to all students on campus, make sure they graduate with a degree they came here for,” said Kaya Wilkinson, a senior at USA.

There are three finalists for the president of the University:
• Jo Bonner, who is Gov. Kay Ivey’s current Chief of Staff
• Dr. Michael Tidwell, who is the immediate past president of the University of Texas at Tyler
• Dr. Damon Andrew, who is currently the Dean and Professor for the College of Education at Florida State University

This week, the university kicked off a series of forums, giving each candidate a chance to address students and faculty. Bonner was first up on Tuesday, Dr. Andrew was on campus Friday.

“You will never have to second guess my intentions. My modus will be to work tirelessly to ensure my alma mater achieves its mission to the fullest extent and to the students’ benefit,” said Dr. Damon Andrew, one of the University of South Alabama’s presidential candidates.

He was there ready to answer questions.

“USA has certainly had a transformational impact on my life, it is the foundation for any career success that I have experienced so far and I want to ensure every single current and future student at south has at least as good if not better experience than I had at South,” Dr. Andrew said.

South has seen its fair share of controversies this year. In March, controversial photos of three University of South Alabama professors resurfaced, those three are on administrative leave.

Just last month, former South Alabama women’s volleyball players filed a lawsuit against their former head coach alleging sexual harassment. The school and other university personnel were named in the suit.

Many students have raised questions about their safety on campus. Some students even asked Dr. Andrew

Students we spoke with hope whoever takes over as the head of the university listens to their concerns and helps find a solution.

“I am hoping for a president who will take a step into the shoes of the students and see how we feel about the things that are going on. And why we feel like certain actions should be taken,” Lee said.

The final forum with Dr. Tidwell will be held on Oct. 26. You can watch the video of the past open forums online.

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