"Is the board seeking a president who will be more pliable to its views?" he said. "If Dr. Wilson was guilty of any serious infractions, it would have been spread throughout the community by now."

Community leaders, including City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and Councilman Robert W. Curran, praised Wilson's efforts to work with — and improve — neighborhoods near campus.

"Dr. Wilson has been extraordinarily hands-on and effective," said Clarke. "He has won the support of many neighborhoods I represent."

Curran noted that the university's 1997 strategic plan made no mention of the surrounding community, in sharp contrast to Wilson's efforts to improve nearby neighborhoods, including constructing academic buildings near the long-troubled Northwood Plaza shopping center.

The regents — who include several members who have served on the board for two or three decades — closed the meeting to the public after less than an hour of testimony. They met with Wilson for more than three hours behind closed doors while alumni, faculty and students waited outside.

After the board announced its decision, several alumni — joined by Wilson and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a regent — broke into Morgan's alma mater.

Supporters hugged Wilson, clasped his hands and asked him how they should feel about the board's decision.

"I think we're on a good road toward healing what damage has possibly been inflicted," Wilson said.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

twitter.com/juliemore

An earlier version misstated the board's vote tally. The Sun regrets the error.

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