Brenda Allen

Lincoln University president Brenda Allen. — Tribune Photo/Ronald Gray

Lincoln University’s Board of Trustees voted Friday to not renew the contract for university president Brenda Allen.

Board president Theresa Braswell announced that the vote had been 52% against negotiating a new contract with Allen and 48% in favor. It was not immediately clear during the meeting who voted to extend Allen’s contract and who voted against it.

The vote came a little before 10 p.m., after a nearly four-hour executive session.

The board followed the announcement with a motion to move forward with identifying and selecting an interim president to lead the university. That motion carried a vote of 14-7.

Board members declined to comment after the vote and adjourned the meeting.

Allen, who became president of the nation’s oldest degree-granting Black university in 2017, is its 14th president. Her contract ended on June 30.

In the last month, word started to spread that the Board of Trustees might not extend Allen’s contract, and more than 14,000 people signed an online petition calling on the board to keep Allen in her role.

The board meeting started Friday night with seven speakers reading from written statements in support of Allen.

State Sen. Vincent Hughes said that “Allen is the best person to be the president of Lincoln.”

“Allen is stability, consistency, reliability, and responsiveness for managing Lincoln University the last several years,” Hughes said. “We can rely on her and trust her that she will make the best decision for this school.”

Elizabeth Hooks, a 1982 Lincoln graduate, said “the revolving door of presidents at Lincoln over the years has caused poor leadership for the school.”

“The turnover in the president’s office is a reflection of dysfunction of our governance,” Hooks said. “With the pandemic, a downturn in the economy and fighting systematic racism, Lincoln needs stable and credible leadership in the presidency and Dr. Allen is that person.”

In the petition, supporters credited Allen with raising more funds for the university, improving student retention and the four-year graduation rate, and ensuring the school’s re-accreditation.

Lincoln is now ranked in the top 10 historically Black colleges and universities in the country and among the top 40 Northern Public Institutions of the United States (a first for the university).

The school also has more stability in state funding and a growing enrollment base. Lincoln enrolled 2, 040 undergraduates and 200 graduate students last year.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Allen served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Winston Salem State University, an HBCU in North Carolina, before she was appointed the president of Lincoln. She also had various educational roles at Brown University and Smith College.

Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lincoln in 1981, and a master’s degree in experimental psychology and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Howard University.

(2) comments


It was an illegitimate board vote and process. With no legal basis to do so, 5 board members who were appointed by the State of Pennsylvania at the beginning of this year were blocked from participating and voting in this meeting. This was done in defiance of orders from the State Attorney General and others across the state legislature. This was done to manufacture the outcome The Chairperson and others on the board wanted as they were only able to vote down her contract by 1 vote in a 12 to 11 vote. This can't possibly stand.


[rolleyes] What's the reason for not renewing her contract? She walked in the door with fundraising efforts for the college. Student Loans and grants are questionable and may become unattainable for those trying to finish college, Is this a good time for taking on a new President? Is there a need to propose a Board revision?

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