Group Wants SSU President's Resignation

Some are calling for the head of Savannah State University to step down. They say the school needs better leadership. What it really boils down to is Savannah State's athletic programs. They're not doing very well, and some people feel as president of the university, Dr. Carlton Brown, is responsible.

No team would want Savannah State University's basketball team's win-loss record: two and 79 in three seasons. The Tigers didn't fair much better on the gridiron. Now, some alumni, including former football player Steven Gerido, are calling for change.

"It's been too bad for too long and we're asking Dr. Brown to resign," Gerido, a 1990 graduate, said.

They say it's not a personal attack, but they believe Dr. Brown is responsible for the school's lagging athletics. "We are in need of effective leadership that will lead SSU in the right direction, athletically and academically," said Gerido.

Dr. Brown was out of town and unavailable for comment, but school officials say the group's claims are totally unfounded.

SSU vice president of academic affairs Dr. Joseph Silver told us, "This is a group of about six people and they have their opinion."

Dr. Silver says Dr. Brown predicted that developing the athletic program would take time. And growing pains. "He predicted that there would be some lean years and possibly some seasons where we didn't win any games and that's happening."

But some students side with Gerido. "They're really right because what's going on is it's not really functioning right with him there," said student Karron Shuman. "The old president, it was much better."

But others say the school is on the right track. "Dr. Brown is a real standup guy," said graduate Clement Bolton. "Dealing with a university, you have to start from the bottom up. Dr. Brown is taking Savannah State from a bottom institution to one of the best institutions in Georgia."

"I think he's good," agreed student Ashley King. "He has a lot of one-on-one interactions with students in the cafeteria and makes an effort to communicate with the students and I think he's a good influence on the school."

One thing they all agree on is that they want to see Savannah State come out the winner.

Another point of contention is finances. Gerido claims contributions given for sports programs aren't getting there. Dr. Silver disagrees, saying if any money were transferred to the wrong account it would have been discovered in the school's recent state and internal audits.

Gerido plans to take his group's call for Dr. Brown's resignation to the board of regents, possibly next week.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com