Senior leaders at West Virginia State University are asking for the removal of President Nicole Pride.
The plea was expressed in a July 14 letter to the university’s board of governors and to the chancellor of West Virginia’s higher education system that was shared with MetroNews. The Charleston Gazette-Mail first reported on the letter, which was signed by the general counsel, the provost and three university vice presidents.
“Condescending and abusive language are common in exchanges with Dr. Pride,” the group wrote in the letter.
And, “Dr. Pride is known for her retaliatory practices.”
The letter was revealed after the university’s board of governors met in executive session for five hours less than a week ago. When members emerged, they announced no decision had been made and offered no further description of what was discussed.
Asked today about the situation, university spokesman Jack Bailey responded, “The university does not comment on personnel matters.”
Pride started as the university’s president last Sept. 1. She had earlier served as the vice provost for academic strategy and operations at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
“It is an institution with such a rich history, and I look forward to working with all the members of the State family to continue to advance its land-grant mission,” Pride said when she was hired.
“The opportunities for the University in the years ahead to continue to meet the economic development and prosperity needs of the state and region are immense and I am honored to be selected to lead this growth.”
Pride began her career in the corporate and non-profit sectors, and left industry to begin her service in higher education at North Carolina A&T State University, where she served as principal liaison and senior adviser to the chancellor, a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, and provided strategic and operational support for internal and external constituencies.
Pride also served as the university’s chief of staff and chief communications officer, responsible for communications, marketing, branding, media and public relations and crisis communications. Her work defined the university’s brand in the state, nation and global marketplace, and her successes track with the institutions arrival as the largest historically black university in the nation.
Prior to joining North Carolina A&T State University, Pride served as vice president for development and communications for Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The university leaders who wrote the letter noted that the executive cabinet includes three vice presidential vacancies. “Other cabinet members are actively seeking employment outside of West Virginia State University. Due to this continuous turnover, there are half a dozen consultants in critical positions, many of them being affiliated with the President’s previous institution,” they wrote.
Moreover, they continued, “the level of turnover during the President’s tenure is troubling.” The letter contended faculty and staff openly share in campus-wide forums that morale is low and uncertainty is constant.
“Dr. Pride’s actions are detrimental to the potential growth and reputation of West Virginia State University,” the university leaders wrote in the letter.