The president of a historically Black university (HBCU) in Kentucky has abruptly tendered his resignation because of concerns about the school’s financial status.
Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II on Tuesday resigned immediately during a meeting specifically held because an external auditor had been appointed to assess the university’s finances. It was the second time in nearly eight years that Brown resigned from an HBCU because its finances were being audited.
The Kentucky State University Board of Regents accepted Brown’s resignation on Tuesday and named the university’s senior vice president for brand identity and university relations to be the acting president.
“As the Kentucky State University community comes together, with a renewed appreciation for our collegiate campus atmosphere and a commitment to our core mission and values, I am humbled and energized by the opportunity to serve our students and community following what has certainly been a time of unprecedented change,” Kentucky State University’s new acting President Clara Ross Stamps said in a statement following Brown’s resignation. “I pledge to labor with our faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters, and will be accessible, transparent, accountable, and communicative, so together we can positively impact the lives of our students and society while advancing Kentucky State onward and upward.”
For Brown, who served four years as Kentucky State University’s president, it was seemingly a case of déjà vu all over again.
Back in December 2013, Brown also quit his post as president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi. At the time, the Associated Press reported that Brown was resigning “amid an investigation into university purchasing practices.”
The exact nature of the “purchasing practices” was not disclosed.
Four years later, Kentucky State University hired Brown to be its president.
All indications are that Brown’s resignation was not expected.
Just last week, Kentucky State tweeted that Brown was scheduled to speak at an event that carried financial implications for the school; and state.
The firing of an HBCU president last year drew attention to the high rate of turnover among presidents at historically Black colleges and universities.
Dr. Austin Lane’s termination from Texas Southern University over an alleged admissions scandal came less than a week before now-former Jackson State University President William Bynum Jr. resigned after he was arrested in a prostitution sting not affiliated with the HBCU in Mississippi.
Data reported by the HBCU Digest website showed that Black colleges were being disproportionately affected by consistent firings and hirings of school presidents. That was true for Lane and Bynum, who each had less than five years leading their respective institutions, a figure that is below the national average of nearly six years.
Brown’s tenures at Alcorn State and Kentucky State also fell below that national average.
Before leading Alcorn State, Brown was provost at Fisk University in Nashville.