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Board hears from ASU students, staff before president search

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Alcorn State University Nursing School senior Sandra Latiker expresses her desire for a president who will pay attention to the needs of not only the students of the Lorman campus, but those at the Natchez campus, as well. Latiker spoke on the phone to the ASU Board Search Committee. The committee hosted a listening session Wednesday in Lorman.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Alcorn State University Nursing School senior Sandra Latiker expresses her desire for a president who will pay attention to the needs of not only the students of the Lorman campus, but those at the Natchez campus. Latiker, participating from the Natchez campus, spoke on the phone to the ASU Board Search Committee. The committee hosted a listening session Wednesday in Lorman.

By Justus Reed

The Vicksburg Post

LORMAN — Equality, vision and spearheading a new bookstore were some of the topics that came out of a brainstorming session about Alcorn State University’s next president.

The ASU Board Search Committee hosted the listening session among core groups on campus to help the search to replace M. Christopher Brown II, who resigned in December. Former interim President Norris Edney has served as acting president since Brown’s resignation.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — A video feed of the ASU Board Search Committee listening sessions was broadcast in the auditorium of the business school on the Natchez Campus. Nursing school student Keisha Green, above, expresses her desire for a local bookstore.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — A video feed of the ASU Board Search Committee listening sessions was broadcast in the auditorium of the business school on the Natchez Campus. Nursing school student Keisha Green, above, expresses her desire for a local bookstore.

Academic advisor Haddie Davis of Vicksburg spoke about how important it is to elect a president who doesn’t show partiality to anyone.

She wants the new president to take a look at the salaries of some of the employees and the reason why they were hired.

“We currently have people on our staff with lower degrees that are making more money or just as much money as those with higher degrees and longevity as an employee,” she said. “Our new leader should be fair.”

Davis also showed concern for the management of the main campus and how it has to run smoothly in order for the other Alcorn campuses to thrive.

“I love the campuses in Vicksburg and Natchez, however, we should focus on the students here on the main campus, because this is the heartbeat of the school. If things are not working here in the heart of the school, then we can’t get it right in Vicksburg or Natchez.

“Students are coming here from around the world and spending their money to attend school, so we should help them as much as we can. Then we can help everybody else.”

Chair of Department of Education and Port Gibson resident Malinda Butler addressed her concerns about the new president enforcing and following campus rules and regulations.

“I would like to see a leader who understands the chain of command,” she said. “I also want to see policies put in place, and our new leader should make sure that those policies are followed.”

Another concern for Butler was the school’s lack of advancement in technology.

“Sometimes I feel like we are not up to date with the 21st century,” she said. “We have problems with our online classes on campus. We need a president who is a visionary and can bring us to the forefront of academia.”

Nursing students on Alcorn’s Natchez campus voiced concerns about recognition. Keisha Green expressed how they want the new leader to give their campus as much attention as the main and Vicksburg campuses.

“We would like to have a president who will be interested in getting us a bookstore, because as of now, we only have a guy who comes to our campus once a semester to sell books,” Green said. “We should have a bookstore to get our own books so that we won’t be behind on our work.”

Brown left his post Dec. 18 after the state auditor’s office announced an investigation into the university’s spending practices. Jeremy Mason, special assistant for university initiatives, and Betty Roberts, the university’s former chief financial officer, also resigned in December.

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