Morgan State University’s Board of Regents voted to extend the contract of the school’s president for an additional year during a lengthy meeting Friday — reversing a contentious decision to seek a new president at the close of the academic year.
Board members did not offer an explanation for their reversal, nor did they detail the reasons they had previously sought to end President David J. Wilson’s tenure after less than three years at the helm of the historically black university in Baltimore.
Board President Dallas R. Evans, who cast the only vote against the measure, said that the board would negotiate a new contract with Wilson by the end of January for the 2013-2014 school year.
“We look forward to going through this healing process,” said Evans.
In brief remarks, Wilson attributed the tension between him and the board to communication problems.
“In order for a university to operate in a shipshape manner, it requires the president and the board to have open communication,” Wilson said after the board’s decision. “As president of the university, I have not done as effective of a job as I should have done in maintaining communication.”
Wilson declined to elaborate on the communication issues in an interview after the meeting, saying that there were “three or four things” he had “not been clear about” with the regents. Evans did not respond to a request for additional comment.
Earlier this month, the board had voted 8 to 7 to not renew Wilson’s contract when it expired in June.
Many of the nearly 100 students, staff and alumni who waited for hours as the board met behind closed doors Friday said they were not satisfied with the board’s decision to offer Wilson only a one-year extension — or its explanation.
Wilson’s supporters said they feared that he would be considered a “lame duck” for the next year and a half.
Wilson, who holds a doctorate from Harvard University, was chosen by the regents to lead Morgan 2 1 / 2 years ago.
Since then, he has pushed to expand the university’s reputation as a top-tier research institution and led the creation of a master plan that emphasizes improving the neighborhoods near the campus.