More budget tightening and fundraising is on the to do list for the new president at Jackson State University.
In his second week on the job, Jackson State University President Dr. William Bynum, is talking about how he plans to attack their budget crisis. Since 2013, the university has had an annual shortfall of $12 million dollars. Last year, an audit found JSU had only enough cash reserves for one week. The interim president instituted a hiring freeze, eliminated 65 vacant jobs, cut some positions and combined departments. Bynum says there's more belt tightening ahead.
"You'll see again a few more changes as we continue to learn, as we continue to discover, as we continue to access different areas, different personnel and different folk. We of course won't comment publicly about the details of any of that, as you know that's private and confidential, so we don't comment on personnel matters," said Bynum.
Bynum says they're aggressively seeking to increase alumni giving and include them in discussions about the university's strategic plan. He's also actively pursing financial support from corporations and businesses. Representative Gregory Holloway of Hazlehurst, is a JSU alum and Vice-Chair of the Universities and Colleges Committee. He says even though they've made some drastic changes it's not enough, seeking the support of alumni and businesses will help.
"So goes Jackson State University, so goes the Capitol City and the Jackson community. It's vital that Jackson State University remain strong. It's imperative what Dr. Bynum is doing," said Holloway.
Bynum says they're developing strategies to show businesses why supporting JSU is a win-win proposition. He adds there has been some decline in enrollment because of scholarship changes. That's an area they're working to address as well.