Alumni effort threatens to thwart ASU’s progress

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 19, 2001

Some angry Alcorn State University alumni, raising concerns &uot;about where the university is going,&uot; are trying to oust its president, Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr.

If these alumni – many of the same alums who tried to have the football coach fired last year after a winless season – succeed, they are likely to do more harm than good to the university they claim to care so much about.

During Bristow’s six years at Alcorn, the school has charted tremendous progress, from the opening of a successful MBA program in Natchez to the raising of graduation rates to the construction of new buildings on campus. In a unique partnership with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Alcorn is poised to construct a fine arts center at the shared Natchez campuses And, it has weathered the ongoing pressures and uncertainties of the landmark Ayers desegregation case and its funding issues.

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Now this group of power-hungry alumni, swelled perhaps by the recent the role of USM alumni in forcing the resignation of their president, is threatening to thwart that progress and plunge the university in political debacle that will only serve to stall its progress.

How much of this campaign is prompted by the football program’s failures is debatable. We suspect many alumni also resent Bristow’s capable, independent approach to leadership and, moreover, the fact that he is an &uot;outsider.&uot;

Outsider or not, Bristow has proven to be a boon to Alcorn State University. And, with his leadership the school, its faculty and its alumni are developing a renewed reputation for achievement and community involvement.

If these alumni insist on interfering in the process, the school could develop an unwelcome reputation instead.