Written by John Face
September 16, 2021
This morning City Watch NEWS spoke with two signers of the change.org petition drive that asks for the removal of Mathew Johnson as President of Albion College. Both students requested to remain anonymous for fear of retribution and City Watch agreed with this request.
Student #1 a Senior, said that the petition drive was needed to try and remove the President. They said “the fact that students and people of the community have to stand up to a bully like this is sad”. They said that real change can only occur “when the Board of Trustees listens to us and does their job in removing him”. The student said there are legitimate concerns regarding his ability to lead and to make change. This student claims the administrations “attack via social media since the petition began” is an example of telling “just enough of the truth” to make his story look good.
I asked as a Senior would they compare Dr. Johnson to former President Dr. Ditzler? Student 1 said “there is absolutely no comparison. Dr. Ditzler wasn’t perfect but at least he treated people with respect and you felt like he cared for us where Dr Johnson does not”.
Student # 2 is a Freshman at the college and came to Albion because of its efforts to diversify its student body and its history as a strong academic institution. They said their impression of Dr. J was very good at the start of the school year. That would change quickly as they shared their concerns as “Dr. J tends to talk down to people and is quite mean”.
The student claimed they experienced first hand how Dr. J could be on how he dealt with a friend, “he made them feel like a second class person as he criticized the friend in front of them”. I asked what the topic was that caused this interaction. They said they “won’t say because he could figure out who I am”.
When I asked if real change will come from the petition both stated likely not. Student 1 said “it’s falling on deaf ears” it appears as far as the Board of Trustees go. I asked if there is any plan for an organized protest this week for the Presidents inauguration. Both replied none that they were aware of. I asked them both if there was a protest would they participate and both said yes, there is “safety in numbers” student 1 said.
I asked the students if they have tried to speak directly to the President, both said no. Student 2 stating “I am afraid of him so the last thing I want to do is put myself out there like a target”.
I asked them what message would they want to get out to the Trustees and community at large. They both agreed with Student 1’s statement, “tell the Trustees to help us, please remove him before he bankrupts the College and ruins its standing in the country”.
Again a message to students and staff, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to talk.
Here is a link to the petition: