William B. Bynum Jr., the president of Jackson State University in Mississippi, resigned effective immediately Monday after his arrest over the weekend at a Clinton hotel on charges of procuring the services of a prostitute, giving a false statement of identity, and possession of marijuana.
The 57 year old was arrested in a sting along with 16 others, according to police sources cited by the Clarion Ledger.
Mark Jones, spokesman for the city of Clinton, told the Ledger that the two-day sting operation led to eight felony charges and explained that the alleged offenders were contacted through online "dark web" sites, where services were discussed and a local chain hotel was the agreed meeting place.
Shonda McCarthy, director of Jackson State University Art Galleries, was also charged with procuring the services of a prostitute and possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle.
Bynum was released from custody Sunday after posting a $3,000 bond, while McCarthy was released the same day after posting a $2,000 bond, police records show.
“I wish we hadn’t arrested anyone, but we’re going to do all we can do to ensure that criminal activity is not going to transpire in the city of Clinton,” Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman told CBS News' Clinton affiliate WJTV.
Quiana James, a Jackson State University student, said she always felt proud to have Bynum as her school’s president but said she was embarrassed by the arrest.
“I see him around campus all the time. I’ve held conversations with him and he just seemed like a nice guy, like a family guy,” she said. “I was proud to have him as my president and so to see this, it’s kind of like, ‘Wow I’m embarrassed.'”
At his formal installation ceremony at Jackson State University in October 2018, Bynum’s daughter, Chelsea Bynum-Grant, praised her father for his faith, according to a release from the school.
“Your love for God and your faith continually grow stronger year after year, milestone after milestone,” she said. “Your love for education and commitment to giving back to the community is admirable. You spent well over 25 years dedicated to showing young people that they are more than capable of stepping out of that bubble and achieving their goals in life and desires.”
After taking the oath of office at the event, Bynum, in the spirit of a preacher, said: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.”
At the installation ceremony which came 16 months after Bynum took over the financially troubled HBCU, he said he would meet the challenges with faith.
“I fear not. I don’t care about the challenges we’re going to face. I worry very little about the things that we are up against, which are significant burdens, challenges, and hurdles. I fear not,” he said. “As I tell my staff, I can literally see it, y’all. I can literally see it because of the covering of God and knowing that indeed we are going to be just fine.”
He then quoted his favorite motto: “Look back and thank God, look forward and trust God, look around and serve God, look within and find God.”
Ricky D. Robinson, a businessman and longtime friend of Bynum, also declared that he had been made president of Jackson State University “by God’s design.”
On Monday, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Thomas Hudson as Acting President of Jackson State University.
“We are extremely pleased that Thomas Hudson has agreed to serve as Acting President,” Hal Parker, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, said in a release. “As both an alumnus and a current staff member, he has a deep love for and understanding of the campus and all it means to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the state.”