Commentary: What is Next for Fisk?

Dr. Kevin Rome, Sr. (Photo: Fisk University)
Dr. Kevin Rome, Sr. (Photo: Fisk University)

When Kevin Rome Sr. came to Fisk University, plenty were proud to see him land there. The enthusiasm he carried himself with had plenty were rooting for him to do well. Things were looking great in the marriage between Rome Sr. and Fisk until a bomb dropped that the university. The restraining order, allegations of him harassing and drugging a man that was the boyfriend of his ex-lover and spending the night with him along with threats are now front and center and Rome Sr. has to face this situation head on. Along with him facing it, Fisk also may be forced into making some decisions.

Fisk released the following statement :

“Monday, Aug. 10, Fisk University learned that allegations unrelated to our school had been made against University President Kevin Rome, PhD. As this is a personal matter not connected to the school, we cannot comment on the specifics. Dr. Rome has been placed on leave until the matter is resolved and Provost Vann Newkirk, PhD, will assume his duties effective immediately.”

The university made the best decision necessary in placing Dr. Rome on leave until the matter is resolved. This allows him to focus on his matters away from the university while also averting some of the attention away from the campus. Rome Sr. has been good for the visibility of the university during his time there at Fisk, but in this scenario, they don’t need for him to be seen around the campus at all.

No one knows how this will come out, but Fisk has to prepare itself for the worst. If all of these allegations are true or even a fraction of them, they will have to make the tough decision on whether or not to relieve Rome Sr. of his duties. That in itself may not be an easy decision for them, but keeping him there could prove very difficult. Imagine the amount of negative publicity that would follow them if he stayed on after these allegations and if he was found guilty.

Along with finding out the truth in this scenario, Fisk also has to put together a contingency plan for who the new president would be should Rome Sr. be fired or resign. The university may like him, but you can never get those feelings caught up in a business decision. This may not be something they want to address until they gather more information, but it’s better to be prepared ahead of time instead of in the moment.

All the allegations against Rome Sr. have not been proven as fact, but Fisk has an obligation to its students, faculty and alumni to be prepared and to be ready should things not go in a positive way. It isn’t about personal feelings in this matter and hopefully those that are in the decision-making process can see that and prepare themselves to handle this matter in whatever direction it may go. They owe that to the entire Fisk network and have to be accountable for that.

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