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Dec 20, 2013 07:20 AM EST

Alcorn State President Resigns amid Investigations into University’s Purchasing Practises


M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn State University (ASU) president, has tendered his resignation following investigation into the school's purchasing irregularities.

The resignation letter states that the 'the emergent management focus on internal operations confirms that now is an ideal time to transition.' Brown will officially step down in January after three years of tenure.

Hank Bounds, the state's higher education commissioner said that the ongoing investigation has already resulted in the resignation of two other Alcorn employees - Jeremy Mason, special assistant for university initiatives and Betty Roberts, former chief financial officer.

Bounds would not disclose whether Brown was directly involved in any of the malpractices. He only said that the College Board has handed its findings to State Auditor Stacey Pickering and the state Ethics Commission.

Norris Edney has been named the interim president.

"We'll make certain that we are prepared to open up the campus in January, and we will work to make sure we have appropriate financial leadership in place," Bounds said, Clarion Ledger reports.

One of the various achievements under Brown's leadership was in 2012, when the university was named the historically black college of the year.

Several campus community and alumni association were shocked to learn about the resignation.

"He has done a fantastic job in publicizing or branding the university," said James Stubbs of Long Beach, the president of Alcorn's alumni association.

Dr. Leroy Johnson, a biology professor who began teaching at the university, in the 1970s told Diverse Education that Brown received wide support from both faculty and students.

"In my opinion, he's the most progressive and the best president Alcorn has ever had. He also didn't micromanage, but allowed his vice presidents to do their jobs. Enrollment had increased since he came and we were working on retention," Johnson said.

Kim Nailor, who graduated from ASU in 2003, describes Brown an excellent president.

"Dr. Brown came to Alcorn with energy.  That was very impressive.  It's unfortunate he's leaving," Nailor said, WJTV reports.

Deidra Jones, another alumnus, said that Brown has immensely contributed to the university. Jones claims that they have received several awards under his leadership.

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