Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Mississippi Desegregation Settlement May Help Jackson State More Than Others, Some Say. (Noteworthy News)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Mississippi Desegregation Settlement May Help Jackson State More Than Others, Some Say. (Noteworthy News)

Article excerpt

JACKSON, MISS.

A settlement of Mississippi's college desegregation lawsuit may help Jackson State University more than Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State universities, officials say.

Last month, a federal judge approved a desegregation plan in the Ayers case, signaling an end to the 27-year-old legal battle (see Black Issues, March 14). The settlement calls for $246 million to be spent on academic programs at the state's traditionally Black institutions -- Jackson State, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State.

Jackson lawyer Reuben Anderson, a chief architect of the plan, says Jackson State could easily double its current 7,000-student enrollment because of the Ayers settlement.

Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State will experience long-range gains, but their locations in rural, economically depressed areas will make it harder for them to grow, Anderson says.

Opponents of the settlement have pledged to continue the legal battle. They say the state may have bartered in good faith, but the settlement was flawed and expensive.

"I don't see where it will be a tremendous amount of improvement," says JSU Faculty Senate President Vernon Archer, a biology professor who supports an anticipated appeal of the Ayers settlement to the U.S. Supreme Court. "I don't see a much different physical plant (at JSU). I don't think there will be an influx of Whites to campus."

Anderson said Jackson State is growing already because of Ayers money and the final settlement will only help the school grow more. …

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