JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Dr. William Bynum has a lot on his plate these days trying to put Jackson State University on solid financial ground after its Reserve Fund was mostly depleted.
“This is going to be a tough year for us financially of course,” he said. “We’ve got some things we are going to have to deal with, so you’ll see some adjustments that will be made throughout the year.”
The school has had layoffs, positions eliminated, departments merged, and scholarships reduced.
“While the enrollment was going up, your net revenue was going down because you were scholarshipping so many students and discounting so many students that your overall bottom line was decreasing even though your head count was increasing,” he said.
While this year is about balancing the budget, the second and third year will be about building back the reserves.
“Obviously we’ll be out trying to raise external funds both in terms of Alumni, corporations and foundation giving, that’s going to be extremely key,” he said.
President Bynum says he knew the challenges when he took the job and that it was his calling to come to JSU a call some didn’t want him to answer.
“While it was a grueling tough process at no point was I personally offended,” Bynum said. “The issues were more about the process, certain people wanted everybody to have their favorites in terms of different candidates or who they would have liked to see on the job, so for a lot of that I didn’t personalize it because I didn’t feel like it was personal against me.”
Bynum believes that people are slowing starting to buy-in to what he’s trying to do as he makes his way around the JSU family.
“What I’ve learned and what I see is that people appreciate knowing the information, they appreciate the fact that I’m up front, that I’m transparent, that I’m being honest with them. Folks are saying as long as I’ve got accurate truthful information I can prepare myself, I can deal with some of the other things, I just need to be communicated with.”
Dr. Bynum says JSU must run more like a business and become more efficient that’s why more services will be centralized, and departments have been merged.