An Open Letter to IHL

May 18, 2017 in Letters To The Editor, Opinion

Jackson State University recently announced plans to build a domed stadium for their sports programs in the capitol city. City leaders said Jackson can not support a new stadium and upcoming renovations to the aging Mississippi Coliseum.

Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education gboyce@ihl.state.ms.us Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

Mr. C. D. Smith Jr., President & Chair of IEO Search Committee board@ihl.state.ms.us Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees

Poised on the advent of the announcement of the preferred candidate for Jackson State University president, I sincerely request that the Board of Trustees respect the recommendations made by the individuals chosen to represent the administration, faculty, staff, students, foundation, community and alumni of Jackson State University.

On May 8, in executive session, the Board of Trustees conducted second-round interviews with finalists. The JSU constituents selected to serve on the Interview Search Advisory Committee (IASC) also participated. At the conclusion of the interviews, the Board of Trustees met to hear candidate assessments from the JSU constituents.

Within strict guidelines, each of the eight JSU representatives was given the opportunity to express his or her opinion regarding the finalists. The JSU constituents provided feedback based on the resumes, interviews, academic credentials, professional experience, administrative background, leadership experience, fiscal management and responsibility of all candidates. The committee members also shared their perspectives on how each candidate’s skill set aligned with the present and future needs of Jackson State University. While each of the finalists presented an array of positive qualities, within the group, the JSU constituents independently and unanimously identified one candidate who possesses the skills and experience required to navigate the university through this period of transition and also demonstrates the innovative and visionary leadership required to advance Jackson State University beyond its current circumstance. The committee also expressed, with confidence, that this particular candidate truly embodies the JSU experience and would receive comprehensive and enthusiastic support of all constituency groups affiliated with Jackson State University.

Prior to being excused from each executive session, the JSU constituents were reminded by the board that our voices and opinions would honestly be considered as the final decision was made. We believed you. After the JSU constituents departed from the second-round executive session, further candidate assessments were made by the Board of Trustees, and according to published procedures, the JSU constituents will have no further participation in the process. We await your decision with the rest of the university community and trust that your decision is driven by what will be best for our dear old college home.

Without another opportunity to share feedback, I submit this written request for the Board of Trustees to respect and honor the recommendations made by those individuals chosen to represent the administration, faculty, staff, students, foundation, community and alumni of Jackson State University. Any other decision would be a dishonor to the process and a disservice to Jackson State University.

With Tiger Pride, Yolanda R. Owens, president Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc.

president@jsunaa.org | www.jsunaa.org