Jackson State University's Interim President has just completed his first week on the job and says he's committed to getting to the bottom of the institution's financial woes and finding solutions.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige is passionate about his alma mater, Jackson State University. Paige, who served during the George W. Bush Administration, returned to the campus last week, as interim president. Carolyn Meyers, the former president, resigned after the College Board revealed JSU's cash reserves dwindled from $37 million to $4.2 million over the past five years--which is enough cash on hand for one week. Paige is busy attending meetings.
"I want to understand what the root cause is of the financial issues that we face and what the solutions to those root cause issues are and what actions would be necessary for us to take to correct the situation," said Paige.
The Monticello, Mississippi native says he's met with legislators, campus officials, community members and students. This week includes meeting with auditors hired by the College Board to analyze JSU's accounting processes. His goal is to prevent this from happening again.
"We want the faculty and staff to understand that this is a premier university and it's going to take its rightful place among the premier universities. Although we're facing a challenge now, this is a challenge that many universities have. We're going to overcome that challenge," said Paige.
Campus officials have said JSU remains financially solid despite the drop in cash reserves. Secretary Paige says he hasn't spoken with former president Carolyn Meyers, but will reach out to her. He plans to make the results of the investigation and corrective measures public.