Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bethune-Cookman president Edison Jackson steps down

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Bethune-Cookman University President Edison Jackson announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his position a year before his contract expires.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports Jackson's early retirement comes after the News-Journal found that finances at the historically black university were troubling, particularly the debt coming from a new dorm that was originally projected to cost $72.1 million but will actually cost the school $306 million when they finish paying it off in 40 years. The newspaper's investigation also showed that Jackson's signature on the dorm contract had been forged, but the school's board of trustees decided to move forward with the company.

Jackson was at the center of controversy months before when Bethune-Cookman invited U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to give a commencement speech at the school's spring graduation. The invitation was met with uproar from students and alumni because of DeVos' previous statement saying historically black colleges and universities founded during racial segregation were the "real pioneers" of "school choice."

At the May 10 graduation ceremony, Bethune-Cookman students turned their backs on DeVos and booed her, prompting Jackson to threaten to cut the ceremony short and mail graduates their degrees if their behavior continued.

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