MARTHA D. SAUNDERS' AIRPLANE - AIRFARCE ONE
(November 24, 2008) CoB News, 24 November 2008 The Beechcraft Queen
Judging by the behavior of USM president, Martha Saunders, one would never
believe that Mississippi is in the grips of major economic crises. Yet despite the
realities all around her, Saunders recently convinced Mississippi's IHL to get
behind her idea to lease a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft for the period
1-Dec-2008 through 30-Nov-2013. And, according to the insert below, the cost to
USM of the lease agreement is projected at $1,890,169.67.
(November 25, 2008) Letters to the Editor Dear USMNews: Has the IHL given an indication as to the budget cuts that
USM and other institutions can expect for next year? I thought it was interesting that in the Big 3 bailout hearings,
Senators asked the Big 3 CEOs if they planned to liquidate their jet fleets. All responded “No.” I guess [USM
President] Martha [Saunders] needs that plane to get to all of her important functions. It may also be useful in getting
to the New Orleans Bowl IF USM beats SMU next weekend. Possession should be taken just in time to keep her from
having to make that tiring drive.
(November 25, 2008) Guest Editorial Happy Thanksgiving Even with the bad national news all around us, CoBers and
USMers alike have lots to be thankful for this year. First, in such harsh economic times we are fortunate to have such a
budget-conscious president in Martha Saunders. The decision to lease a $2 million airplane is a stroke of genius,
especially now. I had heard a rumor that USM was considering reopening its old USM-Natchez branch, and now I
think it is probably true. What a brilliant way to raise tuition dollars!
(December 1, 2008) CoB News, 1 December 2008 Planegate at USM With her 28-Nov-08 article entitled "USM plan to
lease airplane in the works," The Hattiesburg American's Valerie Wells follows up on USMNEWS.net's breaking
story about the decision by USM to lease a Beechcraft King Air 200 airplane for about $2 million. According to Wells'
story, the plane will be used by USM personnel for official business and its use will be administered by USM
president Martha Saunders. Through Wells' report, Saunders used the example of her recent 1-day trip to
Jacksonville, FL, to justify the lease deal. According to Saunders, a recent "one-day meeting" in Jacksonville could
have been made more cost-efficient had USM taken possession of this BKA 200 by that time.
(December 1, 2008) USM’s $2 Million Bruline In January of 2005, NBC aired the 97th episode of the hit sit-com
Seinfeld. That episode was entitled “The Switch,” and it became one the most famous episodes in the long-running
comedy show. A small part of that episode followed Elaine’s efforts to get a tennis racquet re-strung for her boss, Mr.
Pitt. The relevant portions of the dialogue involving this task are inserted below, courtesy of seinfeldscripts.com:
(December 3, 2008) A Question for President Saunders According to a recent Hattiesburg American article “Southern
Miss has permission from the College Board to lease a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft for five years from the USM
Foundation for a total cost of $1.89 million. Officials stress that no paperwork has been signed yet and many details
are still under consideration. ‘It's not a done deal,’ spokeswoman Jana Bryant said.”