Top pick for Jackson State president to be revealed
College Board officials on Monday met behind closed doors with the goal of tapping the next leader of Jackson State University.
In executive session, trustees conducted second-round interviews with finalists on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus.
A spokesperson citing board policy did not release the names of candidates or the number of applicants being considered.
Rod Paige, the former U.S. secretary of education, is serving as interim of the roughly 10,000-student campus. Paige’s service excludes him from being in the running.
During the public portion of the meeting, Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce said that, after each candidate’s interview, board members would be asked to share their thoughts on the interviewee.
“This round is intended to be at a comfort level that is a general discussion,” he explained.
Boyce said the board would likely have deliberations into the evening with their preferred candidate announced in the days ahead.
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The board’s pick will then have a campus visit and meet with members of the JSU community in a series of listening sessions. Those stakeholders will then provide trustees with feedback.
At that point, the board can elect to name the candidate as JSU’s next president or announce that the search will continue.
Those interviewed Monday have been vetted through background and reference checks, College Board leaders said. The candidates were drawn from a pool of applicants recommended by the board’s search committee, which is comprised of all 12 trustees. Board Member C.D. Smith from Meridian chairs the search committee.
Monday’s meeting marks the final stages of the national search launched after the resignation of former president Carolyn Meyers last November.
The Illinois-based Witt/Kieffer firm was hired to assist in the process.
Meyers stepped down amid the revelation that cash reserves at the university had been depleted by roughly $33 million during the last stretch of her tenure. Financial records showed JSU’s cash reserves were reduced by 89 percent over a five-year period. Trustees hired an accounting firm Matthews, Cutrer and Lindsay to review the board’s finances, and of particular concern to higher education officials, was the finding that the university had less than eight days’ worth of operating cash for the end of the 2016 fiscal year.
Meyers’ administration was also troubled by a number of employment lawsuits alleging a hostile working environment.
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