Saying that Lincoln University is in "free fall," a group of students, parents, and faculty is calling for the ouster of board of trustees president Kimberly Lloyd, who they complain has done little to resolve the school's deepening fiscal and academic troubles.
Armed with a petition that had 472 signatures as of Friday afternoon, they plan to make their case against Lloyd at a news conference Saturday morning on the Chester County campus of the nation's first degree-granting historically black university.
The Lincoln University Coalition Stakeholders describe Lloyd as the inept leader of a dysfunctional board. They also sent a letter to several state officials expressing "no confidence in our current leadership" at Lincoln, and await a response.
"We have an oppressive leadership, and our school is going down," said Carmina Taylor, president of the Lincoln University Parents Association, part of the coalition along with the Student Government Association and the Alumni Association.
"We want leadership removed so we can restore our institution," Taylor said.
Maureen Stokes, a university spokeswoman, said the school "is not aware of a Stakeholders press conference that will be held [Saturday] and therefore does not have a comment."
On Monday, students posted the petition stating that Lincoln's administrative instability and financial struggles have forced the school, with 1,900-plus students, into "free fall."
When the semester started in August, students had to move into a residence hall where renovations were unfinished, and upperclassmen were told to find off-campus housing at the last minute, said graduate student Terrell Smith, 22, former president of the Student Government Association and a former student member of the board of trustees.
Lincoln's enrollment spiked last year following several years of decline, but administrator mismanagement of the increase resulted in additional problems for students, Smith said in an interview Friday.
He and the Stakeholders group also accuse the board of violating Sunshine Laws by preventing students, parents, and alumni to voice their displeasure at board meetings.
Robert Ingram, president of the Alumni Association, said in an email that it's "time for [Lloyd] to go."
In 2014, Robert Jennings resigned as president after making comments during a women's convocation that some interpreted as blaming victims for sexual assault. Since then, a series of administrators have left the school, said Taylor, of the parents association. Richard Green is serving as the school's interim president.
During Pennsylvania's eight-month budget stalemate that ended in March, Lincoln's finances were hamstrung. The 162-year-old school, one of four state-related colleges, relies on state money to fund 25 percent of its budget.
Last November, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the university's bond rating from A3 to Baa3.
The Coalition Stakeholders' news conference is set for 8 a.m. at Lincoln's International Cultural Center.