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17 April 2008
New JSU Trustee Randy Jones Seeks to Alleviate Students' Protests on His First Day at the Job

By David Clemons
The Reporter

Jones Begins Term as JSU Trustee

Reprinted here in its entirety.

A rare protest by students greeted Randy Jones on his first day as a Jacksonville State University trustee.

Gov. Bob Riley nominated Jones, an Albertville insurance agent, to represent north Alabama on the JSU board of trustees. The state Senate confirmed Jones, who will serve until 2015.

About 30 students showed up at Monday’s board meeting to protest the decision to upgrade campus athletic facilities.

Jones met with the students afterward to allay their concerns. He said private donors had given money given for the project to improve Paul Snow Stadium.

“It’s not coming in any way, shape or form out of academics,” Jones said. “The majority cost of the stadium is the dorms. Those are going to be financed by people paying rent in the dorms. So (the student) said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.’”

The stadium expansion includes construction of 200 dorm rooms. The school will spend $20 million for the residence hall and about $17.5 million for the stadium expansion.

Trustees meet once a quarter “and just basically plot out the future for Jacksonville State,” Jones said.

Jones serves on the trustees’ academic committee with Randy Owen, the country music star from Fort Payne.

Jones said that by the time his term ends, he wants to see a “true honors program,” and he and Owen are collaborating on that.

He also wants to see a Jacksonville State education accessible to more local students.

Jones noted that Marshall County has the third-largest base of Jacksonville State alumni anywhere.

He wants to serve as a voice for those alumni if they have concerns about the university.

He said Jacksonville State has more accredited classes than any other regional university in the state, and that Princeton Review has said JSU has a business school in the top 10 percent in the country.

He said the nursing program is “busting at the seams,” and he noted that JSU offers a fifth-year master’s program for education and an online master of business administration program.

Jones, 54, said he was a “typical” Jacksonville State student in the 1970s. He worked during the day and attended classes at night before graduating in 1976. That gives him an appreciation for the life of current students.

“A large amount of our students are what you call day commuters,” he said. “We have a lot of folks up here that go to Jacksonville.”

Jones said the chance to hear from students this week was “welcome.”

“We are there for one purpose, and that’s to make sure that Jacksonville State offers a quality education for our students,” he said. “If we don’t have the students first in mind, then we’re not doing our mission.

“Our mission is to provide a quality education.”

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