Amid news of no interim university president, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Robert Dixon, administrators and representatives from the Student Government Association met to discuss the university’s future. Many assumed that with former University President Dr. Horace Judson’s departure, Dr. Dixon automatically moved up the ranks.
The University of Louisiana System will decide the next university president.
“Dr. Dixon is in charge of Grambling State University,” said a UL System representative earlier in the week.
“I am handling all the responsibilities that the president would normally handle,” said Dixon during the meeting.
Dixon stressed the importance of campus cooperation and said that he hadn’t had as much communication with students as he’d like.
“I miss interacting with students,” said Dr. Dixon.
Dixon encouraged students to be vocal and willing to work with the administration.
“We face a challenge as a community at this particular time,” said Dixon.
Dixon also urged students not to speak ill of the university. “It’s very easy to tear (Grambling) down,” said Dixon. “Protect our institution . It’s part of us.”
Dixon emphasized the importance of a strong relationship between the university and its graduates. He compared Grambling State’s alumni relationships with Howard University’s several hundred million dollar alumni financial base.
He said that graduates of Princeton and Yale willingly invest in their former schools.
“If it’s valuable, we have to preserve it,” said Dixon.
Dr. Dixon said that campus-parking issues would be resolved within the next 10 days. He assured listeners that as many parking spaces as possible would be restored.
“I know parking has been a big issue,” said Dr. Dixon.
Some students have doubts.
“I don’t see it taking ten days to fix the parking,” said Student Government President Steven Jackson.
Student leaders appreciated the meeting.
“The meeting was good. Things can only get better from here,” said Freshman Senator Dexter Tardy.
“It was good that Dr. Dixon came and met with us,” said Janean Brown.
“I do hope that during the next 10 days we will progress with what was discussed,” said Jackson.
Tensions arose as Jackson shared concerns about a potential conflict of interest with Dr. Stacey Duhon as SGA adviser and vice president of Student Affairs.
“My loyalty is to Grambling State University, no one else,” said Duhon. “My job is to make sure you all follow the rules of the university.”
Dixon, Jackson and Duhon agreed to begin looking for another SGA adviser, one who is approved of by all three.
“Compromise is a good solution,” said Dr. Mahmoud Lamadanie, executive associate vice president and executive director of International Affairs.
Stosh Browne contributed to this report.