Education

Online petition calls for removal of new Fayetteville State chancellor

Posted February 22, 2021 7:10 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2021 10:29 a.m. EST

— Darrell Allison was named the next chancellor at Fayetteville State University only four days ago, but an online petition calling for his removal has already garnered more than 1,500 signatures.

Allison's selection by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors came as a surprise to some alumni, who question whether his background is the right fit for Fayetteville State.

Unlike most chancellors, he has no doctoral degree and experience teaching at the university level or as a college administrator. Instead, he has a law degree, and his career includes being a lobbyist for school choice, advocating for historically Black colleges and universities and serving as a member of the Board of Governors.

He resigned from the board last September to seek the Fayetteville State chancellorship.

"They said they want a leader who can help elevate the brand and reputation of FSU. I felt very strongly I could do that," Allison said during his introductory news conference last Thursday.

Sources told WRAL News that Allison didn't make the search committee's final cut, but his name was added at the last minute to the list sent to the Board of Governors for the final selection.

The online petition calls the selection process "fraudulent, dishonest, biased, flawed and cheated from the beginning."

"We have to stand firm against unfair practices and procedures. He was not one of the top three names sent to the Board," wrote one person who signed the petition.

"FSU has more than enough qualified alumni for this position. This position deserves someone with an education background or a PhD," another signer wrote.

The search chair and Allison deny any special treatment at Thursday's news conference.

"This was a thorough process. There was no selecting a 'Darrell' and placing a 'Darrell; in this search," Allison said.

"I'm not saying higher ed should always go for non-traditional candidates. I'm not saying that at all," he added. "I'm also saying that I think it's important in the 21st century that they not put blinders up."

WRAL News contacted Fayetteville State and UNC System officials for comment Monday, but no one would speak publicly about Allison's selection.

At least one member of the FSU Board of Trustees recused herself from the search. Rev. Brenda Timberlake did not participate in any discussions or meetings about the chancellor search, a university spokesman said.

Allison officially starts his work as chancellor next month. He said listening to and engaging with the Fayetteville State community will be his main priority.

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