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JSU Alum

Rod Paige: Jackson State’s financial future viable; problems fixable

January 12, 2017 in Education, News

By Othor Cain

Contributing Writer

Things are far different on the campus of Jackson State University (JSU) today, than they were in 1955, when 83 year old Rod Paige graduated. “I’m just amazed everyday that I walk this campus or look out my office window; I think to myself…look at the growth, look at the changes, look at the greatness,” said Paige, who was named interim president of the university in November 2016, after the highly publicized resignation of Carolyn Meyers. Meyers, only the 10th president in the history of the university, which was founded in 1877 and its first full-time female leader, resigned in the fall of 2016, amid rumors of financial unsettlement on the campus.

In a recent discovery, it was revealed that JSU’s cash reserves had plummeted nearly 90 percent in the last five years, going from an estimated $37 million to $4.2 million for the 2016 fiscal year that ended in the fall. Paige, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the seventh U.S. Secretary of Education, says JSU’s financial troubles are deep and perplexed but fixable. “I want to paint a very clear picture, the hole we find ourselves in today is deep, in fact, I really didn’t understand the magnitude of the problems until I got here, but these problems are fixable and when we come out of this…and we will, we will be a stronger more vibrant university than ever before,” Paige said.

Paige failed to equate or give an exact dollar amount as it relates to the financial deficiencies of the university. “I don’t want to give an exact number and then two-weeks later that number has changed or as we are going through this process we find that the number continues to roll,” he said. “Right now, we know its a serious situation and we know that we’ve got to fix it.” Charged with the responsibility by the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) to improve the financial conditions of the university and to strengthen its academic performance, Paige’s outlook for JSU is bright.

“We are looking at everything to ensure that we are running a tight ship, he said. “All external vendor contracts are being reviewed, right now its safe to say that we’ve pretty much instituted a hiring freeze, we must exam everything.” Examining everything includes looking at JSU’s Madison and downtown campuses. When asked if discussions about closing the Madison campus were underway, in spite of recent record enrollment and the campus doing well, Paige said, “I don’t have the data to support your positive outlook.”

“We are looking at everything and in particular at the recent closure of Tulane in Madison, that conversation is happening now. We want to make sure that all of our ducks are in a row and that we are being as financially responsible as we possibly can.”

Paige understands that getting the community and state involved as well as doing fundraising in a new way is a must for JSU. “Listen I’m indebted to this university, it has had an indelible mark on who I am…its in the heart of Jackson and should be the premier university of this state,” he said.

“We need everybody involved in spreading the good news of JSU, telling those untold stories and raising money for the university.” Despite the governor’s recent assertion that JSU should have its own stadium, Paige said having a stadium was not a top priority for him.

Rod Paige: Jackson State




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YEQue
Pres. Paige has come home, sounds like a pro who knows the nuts and bolts of his business, and is a deft politician. Sounds like he's all over this. Any permanent coming after him, if he has input on who that persons is, will surely have to be of the same caliber. Otherwise, leave Secretary Paige in there.

I'm sending some money on Tuesday.
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JSU Alum
YEQue wrote: Pres. Paige has come home, sounds like a pro who knows the nuts and bolts of his business, and is a deft politician. Sounds like he's all over this. Any permanent coming after him, if he has input on who that persons is, will surely have to be of the same caliber. Otherwise, leave Secretary Paige in there. I'm sending some money on Tuesday.

Per College Board policy, interim presidents cannot apply for the permanent president position.

JSU
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YEQue
Oh, well. At his age, he prolly wouldn't want it, sooo... we go with the first option. Influence.
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houstonpolice
YEQue wrote: Oh, well. At his age, he prolly wouldn't want it, sooo... we go with the first option. Influence.lmao cause he is 83 to b exact.
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BluTiger!

JSU Interim President Rod Paige looks to cut expenses

Jimmie E. Gates , The Clarion-LedgerPublished 3:04 p.m. CT Jan. 20, 2017 | Updated 15 hours ago
  
JSU Interim President Paige talks about finances
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Interim Jackson State University President Rod Paige's main priority is to get the university's finances in order, which includes hiring a chief financial officer.

Paige, speaking to The Clarion-Ledger Editorial Board this week, said he is trying get his hands wrapped around issues at his alma mater, but the main financial issue is expenses exceed income at the approximately 9,000-student urban university.

"It's simple: The university's payables exceed the university's incomes and it leaves a gap, and because reserves have been spent down, there is no place to get resources to fill those gaps," Paige said. "So that leaves you with two options: reduce expenses or expand revenue in some way."

Paige said no decision has been made yet on reducing expenditures, but he said a review is underway of the benefit-to-cost ratio of Jackson State's auxiliary facilities, including the Downtown Jackson campus, the Madison campus, the Jackson Medical Mall office, the E-Center on Raymond Road in Jackson and the Walter Payton Wellness Center on the main campus.

Also, Paige didn't rule out possible job actions to reduce expenditures, but said it would be a last resort. "I'm not ready to rule anything off the table," Paige said, in response to a question.
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http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/2017/01/20/jsus-paige-expenses/96836614/

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JSU in the Carolinas
It concerns me that we were burning through so much cash and no one raised their hands to say stop. Is it safe to assume that the ones who raised their hands are no longer here?
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BluTiger!
Good question! I'm assuming that the financial forensic analysis is still underway.
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JSU_HCA
Giving will help
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JSU Alum
JSU_HCA wrote: Giving will help

Exactly! Meyers never had a major fundraising campaign.
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BluTiger!

Rod Paige at JSU to make tough cuts: Hall

Sam R. Hall , The Clarion-Ledger4:02 a.m. CT Jan. 29, 2017
 
JSU Interim President Paige talks about finances
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Jackson State Interim President Rod Paige talks to The Clarion-Ledger Editorial Board about the university's finances. Harold Gater, The Clarion-Ledger

During his recent editorial board meeting, Rod Paige pretty clearly illustrated the depth of the financial morass in which Jackson State University finds itself.

Of course, the fact the 83-year-old former U.S. secretary of education was lured to the position of interim university president was a strong indicator some difficult decisions lie ahead. The College Board was not looking for a babysitter until a new president could be hired. They were looking for someone who could come in, clean up an incredible mess and leave the next president with something of a road map for the future. Certainly the future president of JSU will be thankful if Paige were successful.

But as Paige sat in our board room deliberately and thoughtfully answering each question, he rarely veered from one theme.

"While I looked for a lot of complexities, I've now come to the point where I think it's a simple issue," Paige said. "It is a matter of the university's payables exceed the university's income."

Complicating the matter is the fact JSU's reserve funds were depleted from $37 million to $4 million under the previous administration, which is why Paige finds himself back at his alma mater undertaking what, in many ways and from many people, could be a thankless job.

Paige was guarded when it came to details of how he would go about edging the school back from the precipice of financial ruin, but he left no doubt that any thoughts of fundraising or additional legislative appropriations alone correcting the problem are seriously misguided. He talked of expense cuts, and deep ones. ........

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/01/29/rod-paige-jsu-tough-cuts-sam-hall-column/97054208/



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JSU in the Carolinas
Man 37 million dollars is a lot to replace when you already have anemic giving.  We have to get back to revenue generating activities. I.E. Good football! lol
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BluTiger!
I have been wondering for a few days if we all have yet to realize how serious this problem is?
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JSU Alum
Mississippi College Board seeks more financial oversight after problems at Jackson State - Washington Times
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YEQue
Man, oh man...  The Washington Times?  They're wack jobs for the most part.  But this is what happens when we don't handle business.
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