UWA Students Speak on President's Removal

By: Candace Barnette Email
By: Candace Barnette Email

UWA students were some of the first to stand up in support of their president. And now that he's gone, they're speaking out about his treatment. We talked with many students across campus, who all said they believe Dr. Richard Holland was treated unfairly at Monday's meeting.

"I was in tears when I found it out. My heart just went to my stomach," UWA freshman Sarah Stone says. "I just don't think it's fair that he has to leave, and he's in the middle of so many projects. He's been really good to this school that I have seen."

The UWA board of trustees voted not to renew the president's contract. And members placed him on administrative leave pending an investigation of board members. Former miss UWA Tierra Robinson says that was difficult to watch.

"I was in the middle about the whole situation," Robinson says. "Everything was going well in the meeting until they decided to put him on administrative leave. That's when my heart really broke, and I wish I wouldn't have stayed neutral. I wish I would have done something to help him out."

And based on the actions at that meeting, many students tell me they feel that the Board of Trustees had already made up its mind about ousting Dr. Holland far before that meeting ever took place.

In part because of how quickly the board had a recommendation and bio prepared for a new temporary administrator.

"He had a bio and a resume about everything he had done in his life," senior Martell Pearson says. "I was like 'I've never heard of this person in my life; how do you know so much about this person?' If you already contacted somebody, it means you already made plans for it to go that far. It means you knew exactly how it would play out."

John Blackwell, the former business manager at UWA, will be serving in that role of temporary administrator. We don't have word yet on exactly when he will begin working.


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