Detroit Mayor and FAMU graduate Kwame Kilpatrick agreed to resign Thursday after pleading guilty to two felony counts of perjury.
This ends a six-month-long legal saga. Kilpatrick agreed to give up his pension benefits, spend 120 days in jail, and pay the city $1 million in restitution.
Kilpatrick, a 1992 graduate of Florida A&M University received his degree in political science while playing football for the rattlers and was a member of the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The 38-year-old mayor’s troubles began in January when the Detroit Free Press published text messages between the mayor and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
This was the key evidence to contradict the sworn testimony by Kilpatrick in a whistleblower trial last year that he and Beatty didn’t have an affair.
Responses from present Rattlers differed on campus Thursday.
“It was just another way to attack a black man with political power,” said 23-year-old Ernesto Barrett, Jr.
Barrett, an MBA student from Mt. Laurel, N.J. said he feels the popularity of politics amidst the presidential election fever may have been the only reason to prosecute Kilpatrick.
Despite Kilpatrick’s legal problems everything hasn’t been negative during his term in office. Kilpatrick was known for leading America’s 11th largest city through a dramatic renewal and rebirth, CNN.com reported.
Kilpatrick stepped in when the city was facing some of the most difficult economic conditions in the United States.
Since taking office as Detroit’s 60th mayor in 2002, Kilpatrick has spurred the city with reinvestment in neighborhoods and downtown area.
For these reasons, political science professor Keith Simmonds, PhD. said, Kilpatrick needs to pay his debt to society but be allowed to return into public office.
“This puts an unfavorable light upon public service and was poor judgment rather than someone who is a bad person. He’ s worthy of redemption and should be allowed to service.”
Simmonds, who is also the assistant Dean of Colleges and Sciences, came to FAMU in 1986 and taught while Kilpatrick was enrolled but said he didn’t “have the pleasure of having him as a student.”
However, “I think he is a good person deep down he just got derailed. This should not discourage other inspiring public leaders but just a reality check of our own character,” Simmonds said.
However, some students around FAMU believe this could have been avoided.
Senior Healthcare Management student Terrance White 22, from Pensacola, Fla. says, “I’m just disappointed about the entire situation.
This should have never happen but issues like this happen.”