Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EWC Calling on Retired College President; Jacksonville School Wants Former Bethune-Cookman Head to Be Interim Leader

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EWC Calling on Retired College President; Jacksonville School Wants Former Bethune-Cookman Head to Be Interim Leader

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH KORMANIK and ZACH FRIDELL, The Times-Union

Edward Waters College officials want the retired president of Bethune-Cookman College to become the struggling school's interim leader.

Oswald Bronson Sr. is the college's choice to take over for former President Jimmy Jenkins, who resigned Monday. Trustees accepted Jenkins' resignation at a meeting Tuesday, clearing the way for talks with Bronson. No agreement has been reached.

Bronson met with Bethune-Cookman trustees Tuesday to talk about the position, according to his assistant. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Edward Waters Board of Trustees Chairman McKinley Young also did not return a phone call Tuesday.

Bronson retired as the fourth president of Bethune-Cookman College in 2004 after 29 years of service. He is credited with doubling enrollment to about 2,800 students and providing decades of stable leadership at the historically black college in Daytona Beach.

Bethune-Cookman National Alumni Association President Jacquline Mongal said she has "nothing but accolades and praises" for Bronson.

"I've known Dr. Bronson for quite awhile," she said. "He can't lie down and play dead. If there is a need and he feels he can fill it for the good of a cause, then he's a champion for it."

Jenkins left office Monday, saying in a statement he resigned to give the private Jacksonville college its best shot at successfully appealing a decision to revoke its accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools voted to drop the school's accreditation in December following a plagiarism scandal and other problems at the school.

College officials will make their case to keep its accreditation at a hearing Feb. 22 in Atlanta.

Students had mixed reactions to Jenkins' resignation.

"I think he's just trying to help the school out by taking the fall for it," said Jason Whitfield, 19, a sophomore from Miami. ". . . Whatever president comes in needs to keep the quality of the school up so this doesn't happen again. …

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