Friends, Students, Faculty Members, and Alumni
We at the Paine Project have taken a hands off approach as we patiently waited and watched to see if Dr. Samuel Sullivan would take the reigns of leadership and guide our beloved Paine College through the turbulent storms that have beset her. We silently were thrilled at the considered and deliberate pace at which he examined, evaluated, diagnosed then acted to surgically remove most of the remaining cancerous cells left over from the King George administration.
But just as he was catching stride, and the patient was showing signs of improvement, we just as soon realized that although the patient’s body was healing the patient is beset with a mental disease. The brain of the College, its Board of Trustees, is sick and in need of therapy. Silas Norman, chairman of the Board of Trustees, is still paying homage to King George. By his decision to terminate Dr. Sullivan, Silas Norman and his gang of Bradley servile sycophants demonstrated that there is major Unfinished Business yet to be undertaken if Paine College is to make a full recovery.
To The Students of Paine College:
Let this be a teachable moment. Henry David Thoreau lectured before the Concord Lyceum in January of 1848 on the subject “On the Relation of the Individual to the State.” Later published as “Civil Disobedience”. Thoreau’s movitavition for penning “Civil Disobedience” was his experience of having spent one night in jail in July of 1846 for refusal to pay his poll tax in protest against slavery and the Mexican War. Although Thoreau’s themes througout the essay are varied its essential meaning can be boiled down to this –
Majority rule is based on physical strength, not right and justice. Individual conscience should rule instead. One should deplore the lack of judgment, moral sense, and conscience in the way men serve the state. A man cannot bow unquestioningly to the state’s authority without disregarding himself. The verbal expression of opposition to authority is meaningless. Only action — what you do about your objection — matters.
On February 1, 1960, at 4:30pm four freshmen students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an HBCU, sat down at the lunch counter inside the Woolworth store at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest the refusal of white establishments to serve black patrons. The next day, more than twenty black students joined the protest. This peaceful student protest lead to the establishment of the Student Non-Violent Cordinating Committee, one of the foremost student groups during the 1960’s civil rights movement. These students did something to manifest their protest.
In March of 2012, a group of about 30 Paine College Students lead by then SGA president Jabal Moss, protested the lack of judgment, moral sense, and conscience of the George Bradley administration in the way it treated its most precious resource, its students. They wore black and carried signs demonstrating their protest on the main campus of Paine College. This is your history. These students did something to manifest their protest. Their protest brought attention to the ineptitude of the Bradley administration and eventully lead to his ouster.
Now its your turn to do something to manifest your protest of the firing of a good and decent man, Dr. Samuel Sullivan, as the interim President of Paine College. This is your moment to make your mark on the history of Paine College. Whether you take decisive action, or show yourselves to be a do nothing student body, you will make history. We at the Paine Project say – “Don’t talk about it Be about it.” It’s your future that is at stake.
Does Dr. Sullivan refer to Dr. Louis Sullivan, former president of Morehouse School of Medicine? If so, I applaud your effort to retain his services; otherwise, I don’t know the Dr. Sullivan mentioned in the progress report. However, I do recommend that Dr. Silas Norman be asked to resign; he was knowledgeable of the former president’s actions, and did nothing to stop him.
Odessa Walker Hooker ‘51
No Odessah,, Dr. Samuel Sullivan is not Louis Sullivan. Dr. Samuel Sullivan is still a member of the George Bradley Administration. If Sullivan was such a decent man he wouldn’t have helped Bradley carry out his tyrannical mission. Sullivan has a lot of people fooled. Just look at his record while VP of academics at Paine. The Paine Project people are getting this one very wrong. It’s time for new leadership across the Board at Paine. Sullivan should have been fired. This includes the removal of Sullivan’s chief supporter Cheryl Evans-Jones, She was George Bradley’s administrative assistant who Sullivan appointed provost and VP academic affairs. The only business these individuals are about is holding onto their Paine College jobs.
Trina D., you are absolutely correct! I am a current Paine College faculty member. Dr. Evans-Jones called a faculty meeting yesterday proposing a boycott of this weekend’s Founder’s Day ceremony in protest of Dr. Samuel Sullivan’s termination. Many of us faculty members are questioning her true motives. Just where was Dr. Evans-Jones concern with regards to the dozens of faculty members she assisted Dr. Bradley in terminating for false reasons? It is so out of character for her to be orchestrating a boycott of anything to such an extent it is blatantly obvious that she is only trying a desperate attempt to reinstate Sullivan in order to preserve her position. Since Dr. Sullivan appointed her as provost and VP of Academic Affairs, Dr. Evans-Jones realizes since both Bradley and Sullivan are now fired from their positions, she will soon be without a job as well. It is terrible for her to be so transparent in her efforts to use the faculty under the guise of concern for Sullivan’s termination when it’s really about her own survival. Many of us feel if Dr. Sullivan was wrongly terminated, he should seek legal council to remedy any injustice. For Dr. Evans-Jones to even suggest boycotting Paine’s Founder’s Day compromises the dignity of the institution’s elder statesmen. It makes the institution look bad publicly at the expense of what is basically a selfish motive on her part. But, it does show how little regard these George Bradley holdovers really have for Paine College. It’s all about keeping a job and maintaining a salary they would never get outside of Paine College. These individuals have no shame.
A last comment. To equate the heroic actions of those students who risked life and limb at the lunch counter sit-in in 1960 with your solicitation to support Samuel Sullivan is a deeply offensive perversion of the history of civil rights. Shame on you for trivializing and perverting our collective memory of the struggle for African American liberation.
It appears self-interests are taking the place of self-respect and common sense. I have been a frequent visitor to this web site. Obviously the charges made against the George Bradley administration by this web site have merit, or as I read in the Augusta Chronicle, Bradley, Tina Marshall-Bradley, Brandon Brown, and now Samuel Sullivan wouldn’t have been summarily fired.
It appears that the Paine Board of Trustees are also reading this website and they are finally getting it. Samuel Sullivan is a member of the Bradley Administration who supported Bradley’s policies, practices, and procedures for the last several years. Now, for this website, and others to come to the defense of an administrator who was part and parcel of the behavior that places Paine in the negative light it is currently cast is such a contradiction.
In a court of law, as well as a court of public opinion, if you aid and abet those who commit dastardly acts you are just as guilty as they are. The deeds the Bradley administration have committed, according to this website, are reprehensible. The Augusta Chronicle’s report regarding Brandon Brown’s $400k lawsuit against Paine is compelling evidence that the Bradley administration was milking Paine College bone dry. Samuel Sullivan was part of that process and supported it through his passive silence if nothing else.
Changing your stripes when it comes to your own survival doesn’t make you a lamb if you were once seen as a tiger.
It appears that Paine College is predominated by a senior faculty. It is reasonable to believe that job security at an older age is front and foremost in the minds of many Paine faculty members. Perhaps saving Sullivan is thought to be the best way of saving personal jobs. Many probably fear a new administration will make a clean sweep of those who no longer have the energy to scholastically produce. That being the case, how unfortunate for Paine College’s students who attend the college for a quality education, and not to be used as props to preserve the employment of a terminated administrator who did little for them as their chief academic officer.
Sadly, by attempting to undermine the decision of the Paine College Board of Trustees who is now acting in accordance with what this web site has been demanding since its inception demonstrates that the faculty and staff at Paine College are confused. And, confusion sets the stage for absorption by those who are politically advocating the demise of this institution.
It’s now time for brand new leadership at Paine College, not fear of change. Boycotts using students to save the jobs of fired employees is very offensive in this instance. It truly trivializes what this web site has accomplished to date. But, because this webs site is a forum for diverse opinion, perhaps this perspective will encourage others to reconsider a position that many outside observers are seeing as both academically and politically incorrect.
There are plenty brilliant men and women in the market place who can lead Paine College into the future. Allow those who have had their day resign quietly into the past.
Wesley’s logic is compelling. Remember that Dr. Samuel Sullivan’s wholesale dismissal of scores of faculty at the University of the District of Columbia prompted the American Association of University Professors to impose sanctions. All of this, including Dr. Sullivan’s record of performance in Atlanta prior to 2002, is part of the public record and can be confirmed electronically. Before Paine faculty members endorse the former interim President, they should have the prerogative to weigh whether or not Dr. Sullivan (and Dr. Evans-Jones) are sincerely supportive of Paine College faculty. Plenty of professors at GRU/ASU worked with and for Dr. Sullivan during his time on the Hill, from 2002 until 2011. Call those faculty and compare their experiences and views with those of Paine College’s corps of instruction. The Paine Project website makes abundantly clear that the people who have made a difference, who have done the most good for the students, are the teaching faculty. Go with faculty opinion, the judgment of those that assist Paine College students on a daily basis.
CSRA residents were shocked by the apparent ease with which Georgia Health Sciences University/The Medical College of Georgia assimilated Augusta State University. Unlike other “mergers” in the University System of Georgia, the takeover of ASU by the Medical College saved no money, given the meshing of incompatible infrastructures, the “rebranding” of both institutions, the importation of an expensive interim President from New York State, etc. How was it that ASU was so vulnerable to a take-over? No matter how good your corps of instruction may be, accreditation with the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (rightly) demands that the office of Academic Affairs construct and implement a legitimate strategic plan and then make that plan a reality. Reaffirmation of accreditation is not just a review of classroom teaching, SACS looks closely at the effectiveness of academic leadership, at those senior administrators who earn your tax dollars. From 2002 until 2011, Dr. Samuel Sullivan served as Augusta State’s chief academic officer. The buck stopped there, in Dr. Sullivan’s office. With reaffirmation of accreditation looming, Dr. Sullivan left Augusta State, only to reappear at Paine College. So, let us again ask, why was ASU vulnerable to a take-over? As the story of Dr. Sullivan’s dismissal from Paine College unfolds, the one will likely be more understanding of the reasoning of the Board of Trustees of Paine College. Trina is correct. The Paine Project has the finest of intentions, but it has been hoodwinked.
Dr. Samuel Sullivan and the University of the District of Columbia: http://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/Academic-Freedom-and-Tenure-University-of-the-District-of-Columbia.pdf
Completly in agreement the all comments concerning the preservation of our Alma Marta, Paine College. I would like to let Alumni know that the number one concern should be preserving this institution. WHO EVER GETS IN THE WAY NEEDS TO BE DISMISSED. AS AN ALUMNI OUR FIRST DUTY AND LOYALTY IS TO THE INSTITUTION “PAINE COLLEGE.”
To Elroy, Bradford, Wesley and Trina D
Kudos to all of you for candidly and adroitly expressing your opinions on Dr. Sullivan. You may be absolutely correct in your assessment that Dr. Sullivan is more a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution. You may know better than us as to his role and culpability in the Bradley administration. We acknowledge as much.
What we do know, however, is that he was terminated by the Board of Trustees under the direction of Silas Norman in retaliation for terminating Brandon Brown and Tina Marshall-Bradley. One need only read Brandon Brown’s lawsuit against the college and the attached exhibits in order to come to that inescapable conclusion. Whatever his role was during the Bradley administration, which is unclear to us at this point, he was fired for removing the last major vestiges of Bradley’s administration from the campus at Paine College. That much is clear to us.
We too were troubled by his apparent acquiescence, if not actual complicity, in the atrocities of the Bradley administration. That said, we decided to give him the opportunity to stand in his own shoes. It now seems that a faction of the faculty and staff support his leadership. We see support, optimism and enthusiasm from students and staff alike for him and his leadership. As evidenced by your comments, he also has his vocal detractors. That too is OK as we have always strived to have this forum serve as a sounding board for diverse opinions and thoughts. Please continue to express your thoughts. We will post them. We need to have this conversation to arrive at the best solution for the problem.
What we have cautioned ourselves against though is raw guilt by association. If that were the criterion, we too would have condemned the appointment of Dr. Sullivan from the moment he was appointed interim president of the college. It has been said that he and Dr. Cheryl Evans-Jones sat idly by while Bradley wreaked his havoc. We can agree that they made no public expressions of objection. What we do not know is whether they privately voiced objections to the appropriate authorities and agencies. We have reason to believe they did. It is for these reasons we decided to take a wait and see posture.
If you have specific, truthful and verifiable incidences where Dr. Sullivan acted contrary to the best interests of Paine College, its students, faculty or staff we would like to know of them. We cannot, however, countenance general guilt by association, alone and without specific acts of commission. Likewise, what happened at the University of the District of Columbia 15 or more years ago and what happened in Atlanta prior to 2002 is unpersuasive. Different times, different circumstances, virtually irrelevant in our view.
What is relevant and what we have recently seen is that Dr. Sullivan, prior to his termination, moved to rid Paine College of Brandon Brown and Tina Marshal-Bradley. A good thing. What we have also seen is that the Bradley board members: Silas Norman, Sharyn Doanes-Bergin, David Peterson, Fred Thompson, Dumas Shelnutt, Eileen Littlejohn and Barbara Bauknight moved swiftly to remove Dr. Sullivan when he evidenced his desire to cleanse the college of the last major remnants of the Bradley administration.
We continue to have a wait and see attitude. In the meantime, we firmly believe he deserves to continue in the position and his removal is not justified simply on the fact that he previously served in the Bradley administration. And certainly not on the fact that he got rid of Brandon Brown and Tina Marshall-Bradley as is the reason for the BOT termination of his employment.