Albany State University Student Government Association President Clarence Washington addresses a full house during a town hall meeting at Orene Hall Thursday night while ASU President Everette Freeman listens.
ALBANY, Ga. -- The projection screen at Orene Hall said it all: "ASU, it's time to take a stand. We've been overlooked and lied to long enough. Our university needs new leadership and someone who cares."
The target of the message was Albany State University President Everette Freeman, whom Student Government Association President Clarence Washington says should resign for a litany of reasons.
"We have tried to meet with the president time and time again," Washington said to the standing room only crowd at Orene Hall Thursday night. "But I am glad to see him here tonight."
Washington and the SGA say they want Freeman removed from office for reasons ranging from allowing unqualified students admission to the university to not solving limited programming and band space problems at the school.
"I'm glad you are all here tonight," Freeman, ASU's eighth president, said. "I have been open to all voices and groups since I have been here. College is about exercising your point of view, but I am not prepared to walk away from the best university in the country."
A particular bone of contention is the crowded facilities the ASU band is currently using at Holley Hall. The SGA wants to use the old student center for the band, but Freeman said not so fast.
"Every day you (the band) are in Holley is helping us make a case for funding of Ray Charles (Arts Center)," Freeman said. "We have a million dollars sitting in the bank, and we are waiting on more funding from the Board of Regents, which we are expecting next year."
A member of the audience asked Freeman about reports of unqualified students being admitted to the school.
"We found those unqualified students performed almost as well as students who qualified," Freeman answered. "But we have put safeguards in place to make sure that won't happen again."
Washington was asked if he had a problem with the president.
"I have nothing against Dr. Freeman personally," he replied. "This is about education and business. (Freeman) has had problems with every SGA administration that's come through since he's been here."
The SGA has started an online petition at www.change.org and urged people to sign the petition, which urges the Board of Regents to consider removing Freeman.