An online petition to remove Albion College President Matthew Johnson, alleging that he has bullied students and staff and neglected several cases of racism and harassment on campus, has received 1,500 signatures so far.
Johnson was appointed president of the Michigan-based school in April 2020. However, with the ongoing pandemic, he has not been able to have an official inauguration, which is now supposed to take place on September 18, 2021.
“The people of Albion College and the surrounding Albion community deserve better than this,” the petition says. “We deserve better than him. Mathew Johnson needs to face consequences for his actions and be removed from office.”
Faculty and staff have claimed that Johnson’s “my way or the highway” attitude has affected Albion’s culture and is running its reputation into the ground.
Most recently, he was accused of bullying fraternity members who claimed Johnson wanted them to give up their housing and relocate to an apartment building on campus instead. When faced with opposition, Johnson locked the students out of their house. The petition says this is not the first time the president has put students and staff in uncomfortable positions.
Among other things, Johnson has allowed farm animals on campus despite city laws prohibiting them. He has also replaced student parking with green spaces that are not even eco-friendly. As the head of a construction company, some say he is harming townspeople with his unnecessary projects.
The protest began a week after a 21-year-old Albion student admitted to painting racist graffiti with references to the Ku Klux Klan.
Fed up with the school’s negligence in the face of these such incidents, students organized an anonymous petition demanding Johnson step down from his position.
— Big Cat (@ThaBrody_CA) September 15, 2021
“My school deserves a president who will care about and empower the students at Albion College. This school is full of amazing, curious students who want Albion to reach its full potential. That will not happen under Dr. J,” one of the petitioners, Alexandra Seidel, wrote.