Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Daniel Wims, president of Alabama A&M, is a MAGA GOPer with a sketchy job history, making him a higher-ed combo of George Santos, Clarence Thomas

Daniel Wims installed as Alabama A&M president

Daniel K. Wims, president of Alabama A&M University (AAMU) was fired or forced out of positions at three universities before landing at A&M, which is in Huntsville, AL. A&M has been embroiled in several controversies on Wims' watch. (See here, here, and here.) Evidence available so far indicates members of A&M's board of trustees and its presidential search committee might not have been aware of Wims' workplace history before they hired him, according to a report today at donaldwatkins.com.

Watkins, a longtime Alabama attorney who has become a leading voice in online investigative journalism, writes under the headline "Daniel K. Wims Was Fired From Three Administrative Jobs Prior to Becoming Alabama A&M's President":

At first blush, Alabama A&M University President Daniel K. Wims looks good -- on paper. His resume appears to be impressive.

However, Dr. Wims’ online biography has been crafted and spun in a way that intentionally obscures the fact that he was fired from, or otherwise forced out of,  three high-level university administrative positions listed on his resume.

Gov. Kay Ivey knows this important fact about Dr. Wims and uses it to her advantage in controlling his actions as the university president on matters of concern to Alabama's MAGA Republicans. I learned about this fact while preparing my investigative articles on the $527 million the state of Alabama owes to Alabama A&M, which the university refuses to acknowledge or collect.

Somehow, this critically important employment information about Dr. Wims escaped the attention of the presidential search committee that recommended Wims for president in October 2021. It is unknown whether the seven members of the board of trustees who voted Wims in as president over the four "no" votes knew this information.

In the world of higher education, this kind of intentional obfuscation of an applicant's employment history might be viewed as resume fraud. University presidents have been fired because of it. Alabama A&M's weak board of trustees might try to excuse it.

What about details of Wims' employment history? Watkins provides them:

We have confirmed that Dr. Wims was fired or otherwise removed from his position as Executive Vice President at Fort Valley State University. He was allowed to remain at Fort Valley as Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Executive Vice President acted on a wide range of executive decision-making matters for Fort Valley's president.

Dr. Wims was also asked to leave his position as Director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Associate Professor at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Additionally, 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.

Dr. Wims attached himself to President Andrew Hugine at South Carolina State University and followed Hugine from that university to Alabama A&M, where he served as Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Research, and Professor of Agricultural Sciences at the University prior to assuming the presidency.

Dr. Wims applied for several presidential positions and was passed over for these jobs. Dr. Hugine delivered the Alabama A&M presidency to Wims, via a passionate September 30, 2021, "character witness" letter that asked university trustees to completely disregard allegations of sexual misconduct against Wims involving three women and a man.

Alabama Political Reporter (APR) has reported at least twice on the sexual misconduct allegations against Wims. (See here and here.) 

For all practical purposes, Dr. Daniel K. Wims appears to be Alabama A&M University's presidential version of Congressman George Santos (R-New York), mixed with a healthy dose of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' MAGA Republicanism.

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