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UAB Alumni President Answers Jimmy Warren's Letter

UAB fights back in what has quickly become a full-blown war between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If you recall, the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alumni Association President Jimmy Warren had not taken well the news that Senate Bill 348 had been created.

It only took one day for Wes Smith, president of UAB's National Alumni Society, to answer with a letter of his own. It's something when a website like Underdog Dynasty calls someone out on their BS, which is what we did, but it's even better when it's that other party in the fight who stands up and says, "Enough is enough" and refutes all claims.

Read Smith's letter in its entirety below.

I am writing to you as President of National Alumni Society at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and I am honored to address not only UAB alumni, but the alumni of the UA System, including those members of our Tuscaloosa and Huntsville campuses. We view each of you as valued family members.

It is unfortunate that my colleague at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa has addressed a letter to UA Alumni stating that Senate Bill 348 would be highly detrimental to the UA System and all campuses. In support of the position, Mr. Warren states three things, each of which individually and collectively could not be further from the truth.

First, he states the bill before the Senate injects politics into the selection of Trustees for our University System. I simply ask each of you reading this letter, how can the expansion of the Board of Trustees to include the specifics of how shared representation is to be achieved for all campuses within the system be driven by politics? By any reasonable standard, a sharing of governance creates a healthy system. The only political issue here is that it takes our system of government to create shared governance. Achieving shared governance requires using the political system in our state.

Second, his letter states the bill would divert "our" valuable academic funding to football at UAB. Whose resources does Mr. Warren reference in his letter? Since the letter is addressed to his fellow members, he must believe that the bill advocates taking Tuscaloosa campus resources and redirecting them to Birmingham. Well, the truth is the bill says nothing about resources at all. Further, let me assure everyone reading this letter, this issue is not about football. Nothing in the bill addresses or speaks to the issue of football at UAB. Making the bill about football minimizes the issue. Football is merely the symptom that brought our issues into focus. This illness is a lack of shared governance.

Finally, and most saddening to me, is that my colleague states this issue pits our campuses against each other. Again, how can anyone believe that shared governance pits one against the other in our system? As a system, "we are all in this together," working hand in hand to take our system to greater heights than what can be achieved individually. How can anyone with a desire to see our system thrive and grow believe that giving everyone having a voice would pit us against each other? Such a stance is patently unsupportable. I would urge Mr. Warren to work with me, along with Mr. Jason Miller of our Huntsville campus, in furthering issues of shared governance. Our entire system will be better off for doing so.

I urge each of you reading this letter to contact your Senator in support of Senate Bill 348! I do not urge you as a supporter of one or the other campus, but in order to achieve the strength of leadership that shared governance brings to each of us in our University System. Each and every Senator needs to hear your voice on this issue before Wednesday.

Thank you,

Wes Smith

President, UAB National Alumni Society on behalf of the Board of Directors