Summary by a JSU alum who attended the meeting on Monday, June 5, of the HBCU alums with a Black member of the IHL, Shannon Cooper, in Tupelo:
it went as expected. Mr. Cooper is very articulate and was well prepared for questions. He has a military background and controlled the session like the officer he was in the Marines. His bottom line was that the search committee had the responsibility of narrowing down the field of applicants (<50) but the IHL Board is charged with the final selection. His position was the IHL has 2 primary charges: the first is to establish policy for the 8 State universities & selecting the President of those universities. He made it clear that Dr. Bynum submitted his application for consideration and the IHL did NOT draft him for the position. It was implied that MVSU presidency is considered a stepping stone position and if Dr. Bynum didn't leave for JSU, he would likely have left for some other opportunity. The session focused on the poor standings of MVSU prior to Dr. Bynum and the improvements made during his tenure there. Mr. Cooper said some of the recommended candidates hadn't been in leadership positions at other institutions of higher learning and had limited financial backgrounds. It was admitted that the IHL board was comfortable working with Dr. Bynum and impressed by his accomplishments at MVSU.
The MVSU attendees were pushing for a commitment to maintain the course that D. Bynum had set for MVSU. They pushed for one of the VP's to remain as president. I didn't take notes but the VP is currently serving as the interim President at Valley.
The Alcornites were assured that their president was doing a fine job.
Mr. Cooper said the evaluation of Presidents in MS."s university system has been changed to identify developing issues with universities and their presidents. He also said he would be willing to come back to speak to the group.
Finally, the JSU alumni were outnumbered by both MVSU & Alcorn. I have been told that the Tupelo/Northeast Mississippi chapter is the only JSU alumni chapter in northeast Mississippi. It leaves a lot to be desired. The JSU alums were <10 people!