After a ‘no confidence’ vote, JSU sits its seventh president since 2010

Vagrants roaming JSU's campus and harassing the community topped Senate Committee concerns, leading to a vote of no confidence for now-former president Thomas Hudson for damaging the campus community's trust in shared governance by failing to adequately address it.

Jackson State University’s web page for the office of the president features a picture of the interim president, her name and a text scroll that reads, “Check back for future updates.” The rest of the page is vacant, save some general hyperlinks. The website has been a revolving door since Ronald Mason Jr.’s 10-year tenure ended in 2010. It has seen six other presidents come and go since.

Former president Thomas Hudson (Photo: JSU Website)

Jackson State University’s (JSU) Faculty Senate Executive Committee handed then-president Thomas Hudson a “no-confidence” vote in late January for damaging the campus community’s trust in leadership’s commitment to shared governance. The Senate cited his frequent absences in meetings and disregard for their concerns, such as proper campus maintenance and raising alarms about homeless individuals inhabiting campus facilities, for example. He has since been placed on administrative leave with pay.

JSU’s previous president resigned following a sting operation in Clinton, Miss., that caught him soliciting prostitutes, a charge of which he was later found guilty. The president elected prior to that resigned after the school’s cash reserve crashed down by 89% over her five-year term. Sprinkle in some interim presidents, and the average tenure of Jackson State’s presidents since 2010 is two years, compared to the six-year national average, according to ACE.

Fueling the “fire,” Jackson State recently saw the meteoric arrival and shocking departure of one of football’s most prized talents, Deion Sanders, disappointing fans and the student body who cherish JSU’s athletics, which their new president promised will be a “huge” priority.

On Monday, Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony held her first press conference as Jackson State’s interim president, intent on looking toward the future. She did not address Hudson’s tenure or whether he’ll be returning, calling the situation a “personal matter” although she may have slightly alluded to it: “The goal of my administration is to move the university forward with integrity; also, transparency and accountability,” Hayes-Anthony said during the news conference, reported WAPT-TV. “We recognize that trust is earned, and I intend to earn your trust.”

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Thrust into the position Friday morning amid declining enrollment numbers, Hayes-Anthony’s first week at the helm of Jackson State will kick off with a listening tour beginning with thoughts and concerns from students.

Sitting interim president Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony
(Photo: JSU Office of the President)

Hayes-Anthony was the chairwoman and a professor for JSU’s journalism and media studies program since 2015 and held the same positions at Belhaven University for 17 years prior to that. She received her Ph.D. in organizational communication broadcast law at Southern Illinois University.

“I want to thank the Institutions of Higher Learning for entrusting me with the institution that I love, Jackson State University,” she said. “I am committed to upholding the Jackson State University mission to serve the student body.”

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and Florida Gator alumnus. A graduate in journalism and communications, his beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene, and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador, and Brazil.

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