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Friday, April 09, 2010

JSU President throws is hat in the ring for Southern top job

Ronald Mason,Jr. president of Jackson State University is one of two new applicants to lead the Southern University System.

Clarence Newsome, the former president of Shaw University in North Carolina is the other.

The Southern president search committee still must screen their experience and backgrounds before it is certain that Mason or Newsome will be interviewed Tuesday, said Murphy Bell Jr., search committee co-chairman.

“They both have some exciting credentials,” Bell said.

Southern’s stated goal is to choose a new president by the end of April. Interviews were originally scheduled for this week, but were postponed until Tuesday. Bell said it is possible more could still apply.

Mason has headed Jackson State one of Southern’s top rivals for 10 years. The public Mississippi college, along with Southern, is one of the nation’s largest historically black colleges and enrolls nearly 9,000 students.

Mason is currently embroiled in controversy over his support of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s proposal to merge Jackson State, Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University into one historically black college.

In November, Barbour proposed the merger. Then in January, The Clarion-Ledger obtained a presentation by Mason supporting a merger similar to Barbour’s plan.

He (Mason) has done a lot of impressive things at Jackson State,” Bell said, declining comment on the merger proposal by calling it a Mississippi issue.

At Shaw, Newsome resigned last year with Shaw in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis and more than $20 million in university debt.

Shaw, a private college, has more than 2,500 students.


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