BY THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF
DAYTONA BEACH – Attorney Reginald E. Moore, an active longtime alumnus of Bethune-Cookman University, thinks he knows what’s necessary for the school to recover from the shock of the sudden resignation of University President E. LaBrent Chrite.
Moore is the son of the late Richard V. Moore, who succeeded B-CU founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune as president of the institution.
“When (my father) was president, he said trustees had to have at least two of the 3Ws: work, wisdom or wealth,” Reginald Moore told the Florida Courier.
Moore faults recent trustees for not doing the “wise work” necessary to keep the school in good hands. He’s calling for the resignation of the current entire board.
And Moore is not impressed with two insiders – current Senior Vice President and Chief Innovations Officer Karen Bearden and current Board of Trustees Chairman Belvin Perry – who have been mentioned as possible interim presidents.
Bearden came to Daytona Beach at the request of former Interim President Hubert Grimes. Both attended Kentucky State University (KSU), an HBCU located in Frankfurt, Ky.
Grimes assigned Bearden to a transition team to facilitate Chrite’s entry to the institution. Chrite kept her on in university cabinet-level positions dealing with accreditation, Board of Trustees relations, and enrollment.
In 2004, Bearden had been appointed to the KSU Board of Regents – the counterpart to B-CU’s Board of Trustees. In 2017, according to local media reports then, “questions (were) raised by students, faculty and alumni about how the (KSU presidential) search process was conducted and whether board chair woman Dr. Karen Bearden has had undue influence during the process.”
In the aftermath, Bearden sued the school, its then-board chair and faculty members for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment and intimidation, and hostile work environment.
She alleged that KSU instructors started a campaign to have her removed as chairwoman by accusing her in electronic communications of being “engaged in an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a former Kentucky State University President” and falsely accused her of “improperly influencing” the presidential search.
The lawsuit was thrown out. Bearden didn’t appeal. KSU regents wanted to remove her, but Kentucky Governor Matt Bevan allowed out to serve her term which ended in 2019.
Perry is a Tuskegee University grad who earned a law degree and became a prosecutor before serving as a circuit judge for nearly 25 years before retiring.
Perry was appointed to the B-CU Board of Trustees during the administration of Dr. Edison Jackson and rose to become the current chairman as other board members resigned and he moved up.
Perry has no college or university-level educational administrative training or experience. For years, he has been under withering alumni criticism as a consequence of allegations of micromanagement and conflicts of interest.
Moore knows how he feels.
“I don’t think that anyone who was a part of the Jackson-Grimes administration should be interim president,” he concluded.