Assistant to president: 'process was flawed'

Updated: December 9, 2004, 2:58 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The assistant to Notre Dame's president shaved her head to protest Tyrone Willingham's firing as football coach, saying she will remain bald until the Irish win a national championship.

"Because when we do, that will be justification for some people of why we fired Tyrone Willingham," Chandra Johnson said. "Not for me, but for some people."

Johnson, 50, assistant to the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, Notre Dame's president, said she shaved her head last Saturday. Johnson, the school's highest-profile black administrator, told the South Bend Tribune she was shocked at the firing of Willingham _ the first black head coach in any sport at Notre Dame.

"The process was flawed," Johnson said. "There weren't enough people in the conversation. And there was little or no consideration of the ramifications of the decision."

Johnson also said the decision has hurt Notre Dame's goal of improving diversity on campus.

"I think the damage that was done by this decision is irreparable in the immediate future," she told the newspaper.

On Wednesday, Malloy said he was surprised Willingham was not given more time to try to succeed and that he was embarrassed by the firing.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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