Monday, November 23, 2009

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour proposes Merging Historically Black Colleges into one. Hmmmm....... Sounds Familiar?


Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is proposing merging the state's historically black collges, saying it would save the state $35 million dollars.
Barbour said he knows many of his proposals are politically sensitive, including his plan to merge Mississippi University for Women into the larger Mississippi State University and to consolidate the three historically black universities into one. Barbour proposes merging Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University into the larger Jackson State University. There were protest by folks who are against the proposed merger idea by the Magnolia State Governor.
Remember last then State Senator Seth Harp (R-Midland), who is now running for State Insurance Commissioner in 2010 proposed the same idea here in georgia.
Harp has proposed that Albany State be merged with Darton College, a two-year school and that Savannah State, be merged with Armstrong Atlantic University, a four-year school. Georgia has ten historically black schools, but only three are publicly supported, the two that are the subject of Harp's proposal and Fort Valley State, which is not.It was also interesting to note that Albany State and Savannah State, according to the Regents of the University System of Georgia,have had enrollments on the upswing over the past ten years. Enrollment at Savannah State has increased 60 percent, while enrollment at Armstrong Atlantic has risen by 25 percent. So, while these schools might have financial issues they still attract students.,Harp's proposal for Albany State takes a different tack by proposing a merger with a two-year school. But not all two-year schools are run like four-year schools. And two-year school could either be a community college or the freshman-sophomore division of a university system. Their missions are not the same. And their missions, in a consolidated regional university would change too, though no one can predict how change will happen, or how much it might cost.
This proposal is political suicide for any politcian whether they are democrat or republican. The state's electorate is more than 30% Black.
It is safe to assume that opposition to this proposal would be quite vocal,vocal enough to make or break a few political careers in the process. The smartest action that the Georgia legislature could take is to take Harp's proposal off the table. With Georgia's budget crisis & state revenues falling each month, I'm willing to bet that Harp to bring the issue back up again with massive cuts expected across the board. It will not sit well with black voters if this legislation is somehow passed in the State Legislature. The only candidate that I have heard that has talked about this issue is Gen. David Poythress.

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