University leader resigns after bust in prostitution sting
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The president of Jackson State University resigned Monday after he was arrested in a prostitution sting in central Mississippi.
William Bynum Jr., 57, was among 17 people arrested during the weekend in the Jackson suburb of Clinton, according to Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman.
A news release from the Mississippi university system on Monday said Bynum submitted his resignation, and it took effect immediately. Within hours, the governing board for Mississippi’s eight public universities met and named another Jackson State administrator, Thomas Hudson, as interim president. Hudson has been special assistant to the president and chief diversity officer.
Bynum was arrested late Saturday or early Sunday and charged with procuring services of a prostitute, false statement of identity and simple possession of marijuana, Hayman said during a news conference Monday.
The people arrested were responding to an online ad for prostitution services, and they were met by an undercover police officer at a chain hotel near Interstate 20, Hayman said.
The chief was asked if Bynum tried to convince police he was someone else.
“Without getting into particulars, yes, he was charged with that — providing a false identity,” Hayman said.
Bynum had been president of Jackson State since 2017 after serving four years as president of Mississippi Valley State University.
Among the other people arrested was Shonda McCarthy, director of the Jackson State University art galleries. McCarthy, 46, was charged with procuring services of a prostitute and possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle.
The Associated Press left a message Monday with the communications office at Jackson State. The call was not immediately returned. It was also not immediately clear whether either Bynum or McCarthy is represented by an attorney.
Bynum faced protests from some alumni and students when he was first chosen for the Jackson State presidency because he was not among the three initial finalists. The university was having financial problems after overspending by a previous president. Bynum said the university would face three to five years of austerity.
“I understand I may not be your choice,” Bynum told one angry student in 2017. “All I say to you is, watch me work.”
A biography of Bynum on the Jackson State University website said his personal and professional motto is, “Look back and thank God. Look forward and trust God. Look around and serve God. Look within and find God.”