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Things only getting worse at Auburn

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-The timing couldn't have been worse. While the Auburn University administration…which is to say AU President William Walker and the trustees…were still busy trying to sweep "Tubervillegate" under the rug, they were once again hit up the side of the head by a singletree. (And if you don't know what a singletree is, look it up in Funk and Wagnalls.)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), after a two-year investigation, slapped Auburn with one-year probation.
It could have been worse. The punishment was one step away from revoking Auburn's accreditation.
The specific charges against AU which led to the probation were allegations of micro-management of the institution by the board of trustees, including the athletic program.
The embarrassing action by SACS gave new impetus to the campaign to have Walker fired as well as the removal of several members of the Board of Trustees. The Auburn Alumni Association has been joined by an Auburn faculty group in calling for the firing of Walker.
It also added pressure on Gov. Bob Riley to intervene in the Auburn debacle.
Thus far he has done little more than cluck his tongue about the matter, promising that he will meet with those involved and "review" what went wrong.
Ironically, SACS decision to place AU on probation was based on evidence accumulated before the coaching debacle of a few weeks ago.
One can only wonder what Auburn's fate would have been if that had been included in the evidence.
State Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, whose nickname ought to be "Oink" for all the pork he has delivered to his district, walked out of the courtroom in Hamilton last week with a broad smile.
Bedford had been charged with extortion and attempted extortion, stemming from claims that he attempted to force the Marion County Commission to pay an exorbitant price for some property owned by his friend which was to be used for an industrial park.
Judge Jerry White dismissed all charges against Bedford, saying he did not think a crime had been committed.
While Bedford was celebrating a victory, Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor…whose office prosecuted the case…expressed keen disappointment at the decision to drop the case.
"I vehemently but respectfully disagree with the judge's refusal to let the case go to a jury…the ruling is wrong."
White, a retired judge from Dothan, was appointed to hear the case after the two circut judges in Marion County recused themselves.
Bill Fuller has announced he will step down on Dec. 31 as commissioner of the Department of Human Resources.
He plans to pursue a life-long dream to become a minister.
Fuller, perhaps best known for the trademark bow tie he always wears, will enroll at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.
For the record, the post pays an annual salary of $139,000–making it one of the highest paid jobs in the Cabinet.
Pryor's invitation to the media for his annual Christmas Bagel Breakfast had in large type the words: "Ted Kennedy and Roy Moore… To Attend." But in small type the words "are not expected" were printed.
A spokesman for Moore called the invitation a cheap shot, a spokesman for Pryor responded that it was only "holiday humor."

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