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Albion College’s board has issued a strong statement of support for Mathew Johnson, its new president, who has been sharply criticized by some students and alumni.

After listing numerous accomplishments, the board statement said, “The Board of Trustees is aware that Dr. Johnson, members of the leadership team, members of the Board of Trustees, and members of their families have suffered sustained and unwarranted accusations and written and verbal attacks for carrying out the vision the Board of Trustees has put forth. The Board of Trustees is disappointed that the spirit of cooperation between the City of Albion and Albion College has been damaged by this behavior. The leaders of this campaign seek only to divide and destroy rather than to unite and build a better college and community. The Board of Trustees strongly condemns the tactics and misinformation being used in this campaign against employees and others associated with Albion College.”

Johnson, who became president of the Michigan liberal arts college in July 2020, has been “bullying staff and students to get his way,” according to a petition, which as of Sunday had garnered more than 1,900 signatures. The petition throws a host of accusations at Johnson, including allegations that he profited from campus construction projects, hired nonwhite employees only because of their skin color and kept two goats on campus against city law.