Shake-Up in the Leadership at Jackson State University in Mississippi

William Bynum Jr. resigned as president of historically Black Jackson State University in Mississippi on February 10, after he was one of 17 people arrested in a prostitution sting operation conducted by the police department in Clinton, Mississippi. Dr. Bynum was charged with procuring the services of a prostitute, false statement of identity, and simple possession of marijuana.

President Bynum has led Jackson State University since 2017. From 2013 to 2017, he was president of Mississippi Valley State University. Before being named president of Mississippi Valley State University in October 2013, Dr. Bynum was vice president for enrollment management and student services at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Earlier in his career, he was the Covington Distinguished Professor of Sociology and assistant dean of students at Davidson College in North Carolina. He also served as dean of students at Clark Atlanta University.

Dr. Bynum is a graduate of Davidson College and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from Duke University.

Also apprehended in the sting operation was Shonda McCarthy, director of the Jackson State University Art Galleries. She was charged with procuring the services of a prostitute and possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle.

Following Dr. Bynum’s resignation, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Thomas Hudson as acting president of Jackson State University. He has been serving as special assistant to the president and chief diversity officer for Jackson State. Hudson has been a member of the Jackson State staff since 2012. Earlier, he served as an equal employment opportunity specialist for the Department of Homeland Security.

Hudson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi.

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  1. What a sad and preventable day for the HBCU community in MS and especially professional “Black men”. First, Dr. Bynum should be deeply disappointed in himself on numerous levels if such claims are proven to be true according to said law. Second, Dr. Bynum definitely let JSU and MVSU down that’s going to have a long term negative impact on MS HBCUs. Third, one must admit this probably wasn’t the First Time Dr. Bynum was allegedly secured the services of woman other than his spouse. Fourth, the interim president appointment via Dr. Bynum’s “executive assistant” does not pass the smell test because he probably had some knowledge (e.g., directly or indirectly) of Dr. Bynum’s philanderous behavior. In close, the JSU, MVSU, and Black Mississippians are deeply disappointed with William’s lack of good judgement. As a result, the IHL will have more reasons why MS HBCUs should either close, be merged, and underfunded. HBCU administrators and professional staff must do better.

  2. It’s like watching dominoes fall. HBCUs senior administrators are making it very very hard to advocate putting millions of dollars in their hands. It’s like they believe HBCU budgets are their private accounts and that moral and ethical leadership doesn’t apply to them. There’ll be more. He’s not the first and he wont be the last. Unfortunately. He’ll pop up somewhere else as a provost or president – the ole HBCU recycle machine.

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