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LU alumni ask Board of Curators for immediate action on important concerns

A portrait of Antoinette "Bonnie" Candia-Bailey.
Lincoln University
Candia-Bailey assumed her role as vice president in May 2023

JEFFERSON CITY — Dozens of Lincoln University alumni from across the United States descended to Jefferson City on Thursday to address the university's Board of Curators and to meet with state legislators.

It was a call to action after the Jan. 8 death of university administrator Dr. Antoinette Bonnie Candia-Bailey. KOMU 8 sat in as alumni read a written letter with a list calling for immediate action from the Board of Curators. The letter was from Lashawnda Jones, president of the Alumni Association's Atlanta chapter.

After group prayer, the group split up. Some of the alumni, along with students, went to the state Capitol to protest and meet with state leaders and the Black Caucus.

About a dozen alumni sat in at the Board of Curators meeting. With them was a letter with seven key points alumni would like the board to immediately address.

Patricia Neal-Stinson, treasurer of the Atlanta chapter, read the letter, which asked the board to balance community engagement and to prioritize the stakeholders' well-being.

"The stakeholders are the staff, the students and the alumni. Yes, we know this is a bad look for Lincoln, but somebody lost their life, and we have to pay attention to that," Neal-Stinson said.

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The letter also asks them to provide comprehensive mental health support, evaluate the work environment, create a task force, and offer transparent communication.

LU's National Alumni Association President Dr. Sherman Bonds said he wrote a letter to the board but never received a response.

"The hope is they would change some of their attitudes towards how they articulate our presence in this space and recognize it as valuable input," Bonds said.

The letter states alumni would also like to see "key" leadership changes. Above all, Neal-Stinson said they want to help students, staff, and alumni grieve and heal from the loss of Candia-Bailey.

"What do we need to do as alumni, financial supporters, and a servant of Lincoln University? I'm here to find out what we can do," she said.

After Neal-Stinson read the letter, the board said Jones and the alumni would receive a response from the board. The meeting then went into a closed session. As of Thursday afternoon, there was no response yet from the LU Board of Curators.

KOMU 8 is a full-powered NBC affiliate operating as an independent commercial property. As such, KOMU 8 is the only major network affiliate in the United States that acts as a university-owned commercial television station utilizing its newsroom as a working lab for students.