JSU president resigns with questions remaining about school finances

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Dr. Carolyn Meyers, president, Jackson State University

Dr. Carolyn Meyers, president, Jackson State University

Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers announced her resignation on Tuesday, less than a week after the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning appointed an accounting analytics firm to assess the university’s finances.

The IHL reported Jackson State’s cash reserves declined from $37 million to $4 million over just the last four years. During Meyers’ time as president, the university went from a cash flow surplus to a deficit.

In her letter dated Oct. 24 to Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of the Institutions of Higher Learning, and Dr. Douglas Rouse, president of the IHL College Board of Trustees, Meyers wrote she was making her resignation effective Nov. 1 “out of genuine love and pride in the university.” She offered no other reasons.

On Oct. 18, prior to last week’s IHL board meeting, Meyers sent an email to students, faculty and staff that touted the achievements of the university under her five-year tenure including a growing student population and expansions in programs.

“It’s been a hard two weeks at this school,” said senior JSU criminal justice major Qualy Stokes.

Stokes believes that JSU’s financial issues prompted Meyers to resign. Recalling the email Meyers sent last week, Stokes says, “I feel like that was honestly her goodbye letter.”

Rashad J. Moore, a first-year JSU graduate student said Meyers’ resignation “wasn’t anything too shocking” following the IHL’s report.

Moore was a student during Meyers’ entire five-year tenure at the university, and he said that changes must take place in order for the university to progress.

“I’m in complete hopes that the university will thrive beyond the negativity,” Moore said. “Like any other person who cares about JSU, we hope the next person can carry on more of the JSU traditions for students and future students to come.”

In a statement Tuesday accepting Meyers’ resignation on behalf of the IHL board of trustees, Boyce said, “We appreciate Dr. Meyers’ service to Jackson State University and wish her well in future endeavors.”

An interim president will be named and a timeline for the presidential search will be announced soon.

“Students remain our top priority,” added Boyce. “We are confident that Jackson State will move forward and continue to be an excellent institution and source of pride for students, faculty and alumni.”

Contributing: Ashley F. G. Norwood

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