No Contract Renewal for MVSU President - Higher Education
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No Contract Renewal for MVSU President

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by Associated Press

GREENWOOD Miss. — The state College Board has decided against renewing the contract of

Mississippi Valley State University President Donna Oliver

Mississippi Valley State University President Donna Oliver

.

No reasons were given for the decision.

In a brief Friday afternoon statement, Mississippi Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said Oliver will stay in her post until her contract ends on Dec. 31 and that an interim president will be named soon.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that Bounds’ statement was released the day after the College Board announced its decision to renew the contracts of the presidents at the state’s other two historically black universities, Jackson State and Alcorn State. It also came hours after the MVSU Foundation Board announced its intent to hold a press conference Monday on the Itta Bena campus to support extending Oliver’s contract.

Dr. Walter Roberts, chairman of the foundation board, had accused the College Board, in an interview with the Commonwealth, of intentionally keeping Oliver in limbo to undermine the 2,467-student university and ultimately lead to its closure.

Oliver, 62, previously served as an administrator at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., and Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. When she took over as president of MVSU in January 2009, she became the first female president in the school’s history.

Although the foundation board credited Oliver with increasing private giving to the university and enhancing its programs and physical plant, she has been criticized for some of her personnel decisions and the university’s low enrollment.

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One Response to No Contract Renewal for MVSU President

  1. I am a recent graduate of MVSU. I was recruited by Dr. Oliver. When I came to Valley the attitudes of some of the students and staff were ignorant and disrespectful towards the idea of a woman president. I remember on female student saying, “we have never had a woman president and didn’t want one now”. she continued by saying a woman can’t run a college it takes a man to do that”. I then encountered a male student who told me that she was to “uppity and didn’t deserve to be there.
    Lets be clear when I came to Valley it was a mess the laundry room was deplorable the campus looked run down. yet Dr. Oliver came in and built a new admin building which housed the social work department an auditorium and a several other departments. She was also rebuilding the library a building the housed wasp in the light fixtures.
    As far as her personal decision making I witnessed as one staff member attempted to use my desire for a job to sabotage her. I was asked to apply for a position with student housing by the director of student housing my first semester. He stated that he needed good people to work for him and since I was an older graduate student I would be perfect. However once I applied for the position and used Dr. Oliver as a reference he lied and said that she tried to force him to higher me. I was stunned when I found out because he was the one who told me to apply yet he had the nerve to get in a meeting after not hiring me and try to lie on Dr. Oliver.
    the sad part about this story is that he and other staff like him created a hostile work environment for Dr. Oliver in order to force her out. When I graduated from Valley in May 2013 it was bittersweet. I was happy to have my Master of Social Work but was sad and angry that I was not shaking Dr. Oliver’s hand but some man.
    although Dr. Oliver was lied on and I feel mistreated by some misogynistic morons I am glad she was able to show me that in the midst of wolves you can and will survive if you stay true to who you are and whose you are.
    By the way that same Director of student housing is still there employing brothers, sisters and relatives. I learned the hard way the MVSU is not for people who are considered strangers unless they are White and/or athletic

    Adrian Brooks Whitfield
    May 10, 2014 at 5:48 am

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