Alcorn State’s Brown resigns amid investigation


The Associated Press

BrownJACKSON, Miss. — Alcorn State University President M. Christopher Brown II has resigned amid an investigation into university purchasing practices.

The resignation was announced Thursday by Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds.

Bounds said a continuing investigation into purchasing practices has already led to the resignation of two other Alcorn employees. They include special assistant for university initiatives Jeremy Mason and former Chief Financial Officer Betty Roberts.

Bounds said the College Board has turned over its findings to state Auditor Stacey Pickering and the state Ethics Commission. That’s an indication that civil or criminal penalties could be pending against those involved.

Brett Kittredge, a spokesman for Pickering, confirmed the auditor’s office has begun an inquiry.

Norris Edney, a former interim president at Alcorn State, was named acting president immediately.

College Board President Bob Owens will appoint a search committee to begin a search for Brown’s successor.

“I want to assure the faculty, staff, students and alumni that the board is committed to moving quickly to begin the search process for the next president of Alcorn State University,” Bounds said in prepared remarks.

Brown led Alcorn State since 2010 and brought national recognition to the 5,000-student land-grant university in southwest Mississippi. Alcorn was named the historically black college of the year in 2012, and recruited Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, to join its faculty.

The College Board has held a series of closed meetings in recent weeks to discuss the Alcorn situation. The board said it was discussing personnel issues, a clue that Brown’s job was in peril because the board appoints presidents at each of Mississippi’s eight universities.

Before becoming president of Alcorn State, Brown was provost at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and dean of education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.