ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University President Dr. Art Dunning promises students he will bring their concerns to the board of regents. He spoke to students late Friday afternoon after they staged a protest over the school's new mission statement.
Dr. Dunning spent more than an hour explaining to students why ASU's new mission statement lacks any mention of it being a historically black institution. Students want the already-approved statement changed.
It was a very contentious environment just outside of the student center at Albany State Friday afternoon.
Earlier in the morning, students walked out on President Art Dunning during an honor's day event in protest of the school's new mission statement which removed any mention of ASU being an HBCU.
In response, Dunning met with students to explain the board of regents' decision.
"We have four foundational documents," said Dr. Dunning. "So HBCU is going to be immersed in two documents. The mission statement is a short statement. We modeled our mission statement after two of the best HBCUs in the country. They didn't mention it."
That answer wasn't good enough for the students and a few alumni who previously told Dunning they wanted to retain the "HBCU" mention in the new mission statement.
"If you take it out of sight, its out of mind and people forget," stated ASU senior Jeremy Jones. "With us merging with Darton in the scope of what ASU is going to turn into being so much up for grasp. If we can hone in on HBCU we know we have a voice moving forward."
The Albany State SGA president, Laurentiis Gaines has been the primary advocate for the students, and plans to resubmit a previously proposed phrase students want included.
"ASU respects and builds on its legacy as a historically black institution and as an access institution with a strong commitment to liberal arts heritage, and respect for diversity in all its forms giving students the foundation they need to succeed."
With the pressure on, many students felt confident their concerns will be taken seriously, and many were optimistic about what they called the legacy of their school being restored.