Alabama State University students have launched a petition drive and a series of protests in support of Dr. Joseph Silver. And Tuesday night, they took the protest to him, marching from the center of campus to his house.
Singing songs that echoed the Civil Rights era, the student gathered in the center of campus to protest the decision by the Executive Committee of the ASU Board of Trustees to place Silver on administrative leave. They say they stand behind him and what he is trying to do.
"That just shows his character," said Darnell Steele, a Junior at ASU. "Dr. Silver has no reason to lie about what he's talking about, no reason at all."
Some students held candles, while others held signs as they marched up the hill toward the president's house.
Silver and his wife came out of the house and addressed the students.
"I understand there are personal attacks trying to impugn my character," Silver said. "We're not going to stoop that low. We're going to stay focused on the issues. And what I want you students to know is this means so much to be."
He also said the stakes in this battle of top administrators are high.
"This is a watershed moment in the history of this University. The end result of this situation will determine the fate of this great institution."
Silver also addressed the two other employees placed on administrative leave: Vice-President Ed Patrick and Silver's assistant Joyce Outler. Patrick, like Silver, also worked at Clark Atlanta University. His appointment was separate from Silver. Silver called the action unfortunate. He plans to issue a formal public statement at noon on Wednesday.
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