USA students protest, meet with President after controversial professors are placed on leave

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Tensions were high as students voiced their frustrations with President Tony Waldrop, as they stood in protest after racially insensitive photos of professors Bob Wood, Alex Sharland and Teresa Weldy from a 2014 on-campus Halloween party resurfaced.

After our exclusive News 5 investigation, the school now announcing the professors have been placed on leave pending an investigation by an outside attorney.  

However, students are still calling for their termination.  

“One of the professors, that posed with the noose, that was dressed as the judge. I’m in his class,” said student Jordan Smith. “He’s the head of my department, he decides whether or not I get my degree. There’s no ownership. The university isn’t forcing demand or any of the professors.” 

Waldrop stood front and center listening to every student who had something to say, asking them to help the administration come up with ideas so the university can move forward.  

“It’s best to have many people approaching an issue and coming up with answers. It’s never one person. We need to work together,” said Waldrop.  

In the days following our investigation, students have also started a petition demanding a change in the policies.  

“Take professors who are in the power to educate and be around students that have racist attributes or do racist things and think that is funny or cool, out of this university,” said student Jaylen Williams.   

Waldrop said he’s open to making changes, also telling students his hands are tied and that this investigation will take time.  

“We’re going to examine our polices, if they’re not right, we’re going to find ways to fix them,” said Waldrop.  

“We hope that the administration heard our concerns and our demands and that action is actually being taken and it’s not performative, but progressive and intentional,” said student Bri Burrell. 

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