Sidelined Alabama State University President Dr. Joseph Silver read a prepared statement to the media Wednesday afternoon, which he said would be his last statement on the matter involving his paid administrative leave.
Before reading prepared remarks, Silver explained that he had reasons for addressing those present, including a crowd of ASU students.
He said there is now a smear campaign being waged against him and reminded those present that ASU fully vetted him in his personal, professional and financial lives. He said he made no secret to the search committee that while head of Savannah State University, he fired at least 10 tenured faculty "for not owning up to their responsibilities, and it was a lack of integrity."
Silver said, " I come here [ASU]. It's a different issue, but the same old M.O."
Silver added that he would not engage personal issues. "I will stick to the facts," he said before reading his prepared statement.
The statement reads:
"The last several days have been the most challenging of my personal career. I came to Alabama State University to serve the students, to support the faculty and staff, to make the alumni proud of their alma mater, and to ensure that Alabama State was a great community servant. I came with the objective of taking this institution to the next level of academic excellence. In only two months, the tone was set in a positive manner."
An institution's foundation should be laid with integrity and transparency, this should hold true for all institutions. Integrity and transparency are the hallmarks of how I manage. In reviewing the financials, contracts and other pertinent information of Alabama State, I discovered some items I considered questionable and troubling, at best, and a conflict of interest at the least. When I asked for clarifications, I did not get answers. When I asked for supporting data, the data was withheld.
No leader can run an efficient operation, if the senior staff person is not supportive and forthcoming. No institution of this type can endure multiple leaders attempting to be "president". I was placed on administrative leave because I raised a few probing questions and I refused to go along to get along. That is not my operating style.
I apologize to the students, the faculty and staff, the alumni and the community for this matter disrupting your lives over the last several days. But, please understand that this institution is greater that any one of us. Whether I am here or not is not the concern. The real concern is taking this institution to the next level of excellence, with intergrity, transparency and academic excellence as its foundation.
I also want to thank the students, faculty, staff, alumni and community for their huge support. For this, I am appreciative and humbled. Thank you and please understand that I cannot stand for questions at this time. This will be my last interview on this matter.
Take care and peace be with you.
Silver and his wife returned to their home after he read the statement. Specific details regarding what Silver says he uncovered remain unclear other than to say Tuesday that it deals with fraud and conflict of interests.
The Executive Committee of the ASU Board voted Monday to place Silver on leave pending a meeting of the full board to discuss his future with the university. That meeting, originally set for Thursday, is being delayed until Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, the president of ASU's Board of Trustees, returns to the United States from a European business trip.
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