Lincoln University won’t renew president Brenda Allen’s contract

(Image via Philadelphia Tribune)

By Chanel Hill

Lincoln University’s Board of Trustees voted 14-7 Friday not to extend the employment contract for university president Brenda Allen.

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

The board will seek an interim president to lead the university.

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

It was not immediately clear Friday who voted to extend Allen’s contract and who voted against it, as some board members experienced technical difficulties during the meeting held via video conference.

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.

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.