MC students protest firing of administrator

Maryville College students protest the firing of Ned Willard on campus Tuesday afternoon.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Maryville College students protest the firing of Ned Willard on campus Tuesday afternoon.

More than 150 students gathered Tuesday to protest the firing of a Maryville College administrator.

At noon on Tuesday, students at Maryville College gathered at the outdoor classroom to express their thoughts about Ned Willard, former vice president of enrollment at Maryville College. Students became aware Willard no longer being employed at the college this weekend.

Robbie Champion, a political science major, said that Willard being gone would hinder transparency on campus. Champion said Willard was very approachable and that current students will feel a sense of change not having Willard as part of the college community.

Jonathan Edward Ball, a senior and a Business Organizational Management major, criticized the decision to let Willard go. “I do feel that the college, no matter the extent to which they analyzed the decision, demonstrated poor judgment in the loss of Ned Willard. He was one of the most involved, most concerned members of the entire Maryville College administration, and his presence will be sorely missed.”

Ball said he commends Dr. Gerald Gibson, president of Maryville College for his willingness to speak to students and discuss their concerns about Willard.

Gibson said there was nothing about Willard that he did not like personally, but that the decision was for the benefit of the future of the college.

“As with all personnel issues, I am limited in what I can say for reasons of privacy and legality. But I can say my decision to change the leadership in the enrollment and admissions area of the college was one not approached lightly. I am thankful for Mr. Willard’s years of service to the institution. He was a person who generated goodwill for Maryville College,” Gibson said in a press release.

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