SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah State University alumni have sent a letter to the University System of Georgia chancellor outlining a number of concerns with the current leadership at the school.
The Georgia Board of Regents confirmed they received this letter and a three page-report on April 11. It's signed by five Savannah State alumni who say they are losing confidence in the direction the university is headed, placing a lot of the blame on the current leadership, including Dr. Cheryl Dozier.
SSU is considered one of Georgia's access institutions because there are no 2-year colleges nearby to feed into SSU. But in this detailed report that was sent to the chancellor, alumni are very concerned about the overall decline in retention and graduation rates and they believe it's because a vast majority of students can barely meet the academic requirements for admission.
"The University's concept of an "access institution" has morphed into a campaign to recruit a majority of underqualified, non-college ready students."
It goes on to say:
"Under Dr. Dozier, SSU has taken a completely different approach, almost taking full advantage of their designation as an access institution by nearly abandoning any quest to become an institution of choice for students seeking academic excellence, which has resulted in total chaos and disruption on the University's campus."
Also, "Campus security and safety has become a grave concern. There have been at least three homicides on campus since 2012, and several shootings resulting in aggravated batteries."
The report says, "Parents are simply afraid to send their children to an environment, such as Savannah State, given what is perceived to be a lack of institutional control relating to security and safety on campus."
WTOC spoke to two of the alumni on the phone Friday afternoon about why they sent this letter to the chancellor.
"There are some serious issues at the institution and a lot of it has to do with whether or not there is proper strategic planning and whether there is proper planning as it relates to student safety," SSU alumnus Lamar Rhodes said.
"We just want the same type of leadership at Savannah State that they have at a University of Georgia or any other universities in the system and right now -- I just don't see that we have that. So, we are making the chancellor looks at this. A failing president would not be tolerated at other failing universities-- so why is it being tolerated at Savannah State," asked SSU alumnus Danny Parrish.
WTOC reached out to Savannah State about these allegations. In a statement, they said, "the administration actively engages with alumni to share and discuss the successes, opportunities, and challenges of higher education in general and within the Savannah State community. The president and administration of Savannah State University appreciate and value the contributions of alumni worldwide."
It's up to the board of regents to decide what to do with this information and whether to take any action. Of course, we will continue to follow this and keep you updated.