PLATTSBURGH — Dr. Horace Judson has resigned from Grambling State University.

The former embattled Plattsburgh State president said family reasons were behind his decision to step down as Grambling’s leader, effective Oct. 31.



TOUTS PROGRESS

“When I began as president at GSU, I made a commitment to serve for five years,” Judson said in a press release issued by the college.

“The extraordinary progress that has been achieved in every facet at GSU over the past five years has been validated.”

Judson faced several controversies in Louisiana that were similar to troubles that plagued him during his final years at Plattsburgh State.



HERE 1994 TO 2003

Judson took the helm at Plattsburgh in 1994 and announced his resignation on Dec. 5, 2002, leaving at the end of the spring 2003 semester.

He cited increased enrollment and support for the College Foundation among his accomplishments at Plattsburgh State.

“During my last year there, we raised over $1 million,” affirmed Don Garrant, who retired July 1, 1999, as vice president for institutional advancement under Judson.

“I got along well with him and enjoyed working with him,” Garrant, who later served as a College Council member, said Wednesday.

It was after Garrant retired that Judson became embroiled in several controversies on campus.



FAILED LEADER

Judson resigned from Plattsburgh State following criticisms from students and faculty that he was ignoring their input, isolating himself from the college and community and making poor choices in hirings and firings.

“When President Judson left Plattsburgh, there was no doubt in the campus community that his presidency here had failed,” said Dr. Paul Johnston, a Plattsburgh State English professor who was presiding faculty officer when Judson resigned.

“Still, it would have been nice that with a fresh start he might have learned from his mistakes and been a successful president at Grambling. This didn’t happen, and one can only be sad not only for Grambling but for President Judson and his family, for whom we had such high hopes.

“It’s sad that Grambling has had to go through the same experience we underwent here.”



‘CRYING WOLF’

Dr. Mark Cohen, an anthropology professor at Plattsburgh State, was not surprised that Judson’s behavior at Grambling and reactions to him would have pushed him to resign.

“He made pretty clear that he thought that problems here were white racism, and a lot of people (including at Grambling) believed him,” Cohen said.

“Since I am someone who has worked with black populations and racism for a long time, what made me maddest is that when he (and Donald Peters) screamed ‘racism’ to cover their own sins, they were in effect crying wolf and thus making it harder for people to protest very real instances of racism, which are certainly plentiful enough.

“For me, the Grambling episode brings some closure. The claims of racism (here) were so strong and so hurtful, even for those of us who knew perfectly well they were false, that they undermined us badly, and we wanted to scream, ‘Don’t you understand?’ or ‘Can this poison really be allowed to spread?’

“The problems at Grambling — of course, a black college — and their direct confirmation of our complaints, were vindication of us in many ways, and it helps to know people finally do understand.”



UPS AND DOWNS

Judson assumed the presidency at Grambling in 2004 and the university press release says he stabilized enrollment, created Grambling’s Center for Mathematical Achievement in Science and Technology and state-of-the-art dormitories and established an assembly center.

He has also faced harsh criticism.

Grambling students said he lacked visibility on campus, and hundreds of them signed a petition in January 2006 calling for his removal.

Members of the Alumni Association said he was running the university into the ground, and they joined others who voiced, through public complaints and lawsuits, that they were upset with the direction in which Grambling was headed under Judson and his administration.

Recently, employees expressed concerns that the university would lose accreditation in some areas, including the teacher-education program.

Nearly two years after Judson left Plattsburgh State, the local university’s teacher-education program was denied accreditation.

Judson came under fire for appointing his wife to a university post at Grambling. That mirrored a complaint at Plattsburgh State, where Gail Shorter-Judson was appointed by her husband to a post similar to one for which a search committee had rejected her.

At Grambling, the Judsons had also been called to task for a high-quality surveillance fence being constructed around their residence at a cost of more than $150,000.

Grambling’s Faculty Senate has been drafting a no-confidence vote against Judson.



‘THRIVING’

“Dr. Judson contacted me at the beginning of the semester about his desire to explore other career options,” University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett said in a press release.

“We were hopeful he would be able to stay on through the semester and are saddened that a close family member’s illness accelerated his decision.

“Grambling is a thriving institution, thanks to his service.”



E-mail Stephen Bartlett at:

sbartlett@pressrepublican.com

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