Businesses show support for USA coming to MGCCC-Gautier - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Businesses show support for USA coming to MGCCC-Gautier

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – Pascagoula business owner and Rotary president Charles Busby is not happy about the University of South Alabama's decision not to open a satellite campus in Jackson County. So this week, he sent an email to the president of USA.

"Jackson County is comprised of hard working, blue collar folks who labor daily to create better opportunities for their children.  In these tough economic times, it is simply not feasible for some families to send their children off to school," Busby said, as he read from the note.

Busby told Dr. Gordon Moulton that while there has been criticism from some state leaders over plans to bring USA classes to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gautier, it is not the opinion of most people in Jackson County.

"They are not speaking for us," said Busby.  "We would very much welcome them here. We would love to have them here and we think they would be a wonderful addition to our community."

Busby has a strong bond with USA.  He graduated from the university in 1991 and his daughter is a senior there now.  Busby said since USA has a history of attracting Jackson County students, having USA in Jackson County is just an extension of that partnership.

"We had that opportunity for them and to see it go away is something that is very disheartening to me," said Busby.  "I think it's something we need to stand up for and I want the University of South Alabama to know that the discord that they heard is not the majority of the people that they would be serving."

Busby has sent at least 250 emails to state and county leaders, business owners and educators, urging them to contact Moulton themselves and let their voices be heard.  He is hoping their opinions will convince Moulton to change his mind and form a new partnership with MGCCC.

USA considered moving to Jackson County after the University of Southern Mississippi decided to close its Gautier campus in order to trim its budget.

"We would prefer to have a Mississippi university here.  However, if we've exhausted those efforts and that's not going to happen, and we've gotten a favorable opinion from the state attorney general that it would be legal for South Alabama to have an operation here, then I'm all for it," said Busby.

Busby believes there is a strong chance that Dr. Moulton will reconsider, once he hears the rally of community support.  The show of support from Pascagoula business owners comes a day after MGCCC President Dr. Willis Lott had lunch with the Pascagoula Rotary.

During that meeting, Lott gave the college's side of the controversy.

Lott told WLOX News Thursday that he plans to contact Moulton later this month, in hopes of setting up a meeting to discuss the matter again.  Lott said he wants Moulton to hear from the people of Jackson County first.

"He may say, 'We need to wait a year.' But he might say 'You know, I see we got the support we need, so we'll just see.' He won't make a decision one Friday and change it the next Friday.  We're just trying to build some support. Let him know how much support it is," said Dr. Lott.

Lott said despite the ongoing controversy, the relationship between his college and USM is fine.  He added that if USM leaders want to come back to Gautier, he is willing to talk to them about that.

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