|Provost John D. Jones (left) speaks at Alabama A&M extension event.
A high-ranking administrator at Alabama A&M University was forced out of similar positions at three other universities before landing at A&M's campus in Huntsville, AL, according to a report today at donaldwatkins.com. This comes on the heels of reports that A&M President Daniel K. Wims also was fired or forced out at three universities before being hired in Huntsville -- and that Trustee Kevin Ball, like Wims, has faced allegations of sexual harassment. Ball has become one of Wims' strongest allies on the board of trustees.
All of this seems oddly appropriate, considering that the most recent example of a top A&M executive having a sketchy employment history involves John D. Jones, the university's provost and vice president of academic affairs. Jones, like Wims was forced out at three universities before finding his ways to the safe environs of Huntsville. Like Wims and Ball, Jones' issues on the job include allegations of sexual misconduct.
Donald Watkins, a longtime Alabama attorney who has become a leading voice in online investigative journalism, reports under the headline "Dr. John D. Jones: Alabama A&M’s Newest Provost Forced Out of Three University Executive Jobs":
On July 13, 2022, Alabama A&M University proudly announced the appointment of Dr. John D. Jones to the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs. After a review of dozens of qualified applicants, the university selected Dr. John Jones for the position. Dr. Jones was serving as Alabama A&M’s interim associate vice president and dean of graduate studies at the time.
Like President Daniel K. Wims, Dr. Jones has a history of improper sexual conduct on campus. Like Wims, Jones had been forced out of top-level administrative positions at three universities.
Dr. Wims was fired or otherwise removed from his position as executive vice president at Fort Valley State University. Wims also was asked to leave his position as director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and associate professor at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. Finally, Dr. Wims was forced out of his position as director of the Small Farm Research and Resource Development Center at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
As for Jones, his trail of impropriety essentially matches the one Wims has blazed at various stops on the higher-ed circuit. Writes Watkins:
Dr. Jones was forced out as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fisk University (May 2021 to April 2022) and Lincoln University (Missouri). Dr. Jones does not even list the Lincoln University job on his LinkedIn page.
Dr. Jones also was reportedly forced out as Dean of Education at South Carolina State University, a position he does not list on his online biography at Alabama A&M.
Dr. Jones, who is married, reportedly was named as a respondent in at least one sexual-harassment complaint at Alabama A&M and South Carolina State. According to the complaints, Dr. Jones pressured female faculty members for sex in exchange for tenure and/or promotions. Dr. Jones reportedly denied the allegations.
The John Jones-Daniel Wims connection predates their time at A&M. And that raises this question: Did Wims know about Jones' troubled employment history when A&M hired him? Watkins addresses that question:
Dr. Wims, who also worked at South Carolina State, reportedly knew of Dr. Jones’ propensity to solicit sex from female colleagues at the time Jones was hired for both positions at Alabama A&M. Yet, Wims did not disclose this information to his board of trustees prior to Jones' selection for either administrative position at Alabama A&M.
Wims and Jones join Alabama A&M trustee Kevin Ball in the growing cabal of male administrators and trustees who have documented histories of inappropriate advances toward women and who have nested within the university’s governance hierarchy under the protection of Daniel K. Wims.
Dr. Wims’ complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct encompass three women and at least one male.
What does this say about Alabama A&M? Are students at the Huntsville campus getting a fair deal in exchange for their tuition dollars? Are Alabama residents getting a fair deal in exchange for their tax dollars? Are faculty members and executives at A&M too engaged in sexual shenanigans to actually teach or administer programs? Is Alabama A&M being run by a bunch of rogues who lack the character to work in higher education on the public dime? Should these rogues even be around young people who are trying to earn an education?
It sounds like A&M's culture of sleaze is about to get worse before it gets better. Writes Watkins:
It appears that Alabama A&M has become the hot spot for sexual predators at HBCUs in America, thanks to a notoriously weak and compromised board of trustees.
Coming up -- Dr. Wims’ well-known “close personal relationship” with one of his trustees. It’s been an open secret in Huntsville for years.