New report examines Mississippi’s college governance structure

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -A legislative watchdog report is diving into the topic of how Mississippi controls decisions for the colleges and universities.

The purpose of this PEER report was to see how other states are managing their college systems.

“We’re not changing in the process of changing so everybody can kind of relax there,” noted Sen. Kevin Blackwell. “But I think what one of the things we do is that we do ask ourselves questions, how is this the way we should be operating? How can we do better? If we were to merge? Would there be some savings, you know, for the taxpayers.”

Some other states have a singular state board that oversees BOTH the community college and universities. In 2020, Rep. Chris Bell suggested the state abolish the IHL Board of Trustees completely and let each university have a board instead.

“There needs to be a revision of IHL,” said Bell Thursday. “There needs to be some conversation about how to support our colleges and universities, and how to make them succeed, be on a path to succeed. And not on the path to closure.”

Discussion of changes are typically prompted...

“You do get a lot of questions,” Sen. Joey Fillingane. “But particularly around times, where you have a big change in leadership, either in the University of the whole, like the university presidency, or Chancellor’s or the athletic directors and head football coaches and things like that.”

But here’s the thing, it wouldn’t be an easy change even if there was an appetite at the Capitol. The PEER report points out that the state constitution would have to change if they changed the governance model at all.

“I don’t think there’s any intent to change anything,” added Sen. Chad McMahan. “But we certainly want to study and understand the issue completely.”

Read the full PEER Report HERE.

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