Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler would never tell McDonald’s it can be the only fast-food franchise in her queendom. Wendy’s and Burger King wouldn’t hear of it.
Yet, it appears that is what has happened recently as she and Tulane University have asked the state College Board to rescind what they’re calling the “premature” approval of Jackson State University’s plans to open a Madison campus this summer.
According to multiple reports, Hawkins Butler “wants to make sure that Jackson State will not be competing for students with Tulane, which opened a Madison branch in 2010.”
This is a free-market society, and Hawkins Butler has no serious right to give an education monopoly to one school or another.
On Jan. 17, the College Board approved a 10-year, $1.5-million lease for 8,600 square feet in an office building in Madison for Jackson State to hold classes.
Hawkins Butler has used her strong-armed, mafia-type techniques through the years to get her way. For the most part, it is hard to argue with the results as Madison is often held up as an ideal community in Mississippi. However, no matter how you slice it, this smacks of, at best, elitism.
The mayor has no legitimate gripe against a state school trying to give more opportunities for education in Mississippi.
JSU president Carolyn Meyers has said the university’s move to open a branch in Madison is designed to make its classes more convenient for nontraditional students who live and work in the area.
We say JSU should have the option of competing in the marketplace.
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