JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Jackson State University is now under new leadership.
Former U.S. Education Secretary and JSU Alum Dr. Rod Paige just spent his first full week on the campus as Interim President.
WJTV sat down with him to talk about the state of JSU and the politics facing our country.
Dr. Paige replaces Dr. Carolyn Meyers who resigned after the school’s cash reserve dropped from $37 million to $4 million in four years.
“This has been the subject of many of my meetings since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve had the chance to talk to administrators here to find out their view of it. I’m still in the process of digging through that trying to learn as much as I can about it.”
As Interim President, Dr. Paige said his role is to prepare the university for the new president, but that doesn’t mean he’s here to babysit. He plans on making changes.
“There’s a phrase that I saw some time ago that says if things don’t change they stay the same. Clearly, we don’t want the same. That means we’re going to have some change,” he said. “So you’re looking to shake some things up a little bit? I wouldn’t say shake some things up, but I guess that is a proper way to put it, there will be some change.”
Dr. Paige said despite some challenges, the future of JSU is bright.
“This is an exciting university that has some degree programs that catapult into really great futures,” he said.
Dr. Paige served as Education Secretary under President George W. Bush. He has faith that the country will come together for the election of Donald Trump.
“This is the United States of America,” Paige said. “In this country, we all have our freedom to have opinions and activities in the way that we wish but the bottom line is we all have this kinship to each other, we are members of the United States of America family, and we should work together like a family.”
The college board said it could take five to seven months to find a new president.