University Presidents Search - - Jackson, MS

University Presidents Search

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By Brandon Artiles - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The process of finding the next presidents for Jackson State and Alcorn State Universities has one group upset.  The Mississippi Coalition on Black Higher Education is claiming the state is not conducting the search for the schools' next presidents appropriately, even claiming the search is being influenced by race.

Four of the coalition's directors gathered for a press conference Wednesday morning officially stating their concerns.  In addition to addressing the media they have also written memos to Mississippi's Commissioner on Higher Education, Hank Bounds.

While the group listed a myriad of grievances they all revolve around alleged inconsistencies in the way the state in handling the search process.

"In the past the, wherein, the presidents of the historically black universities have been hand-picked by the while power structure," Roosevelt Yarbrough said. "With only token regard for the needs and opinions of the black faculty, students and alumni."

Yarbrough, an MCBHE director, went on to state that the situation is handled differently when there is a vacancy at a "historically white" university, such as the University of Mississippi.

Bounds strongly refuted their claims specifically addressing their letter.

"It spoke to things like the policy being changed for these two searches," Bounds said. "That's just not accurate. The same policy was in place for the commissioner search and for the University of Mississippi search."

Bounds added that their search process has been consistent with past searches with the inclusion of members from the schools' faculty, student body, alumni and the community on the committees. "With both of these committees all of the interest groups are fully represented."

Bounds said they have received 50 applicants for each of the available positions at JSU and ASU.  He said the state would like to have a president in place at JSU by the end of November, and a president at ASU in December.

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