The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus has criticized the Louisiana Board of Regents' approval of a merger of UNO and SUNO Universities in New Orleans. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has pushed the merger as a necessary change to move Louisiana's higher education community in the New Orleans area forward.
The Black Caucus issued this statement:
Today, the Board of Regents voted to recommend the merger of SUNO and UNO into the University of Louisiana System. The proposed institution would be named the University of Greater New Orleans and would be housed at the grounds of UNO. This vote was simply a rubber stamp of the statement made by the Governor in his press release on Monday, March 14. This merger will require a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature. The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus is opposed to this plan.
Normal procedures to merge or close a university are usually initiated by at least a one (1) year study, however the Board of Regents has conducted this study in only a month and a half. This recommendation comes with no factual basis that it will save the state money or that the merger will serve the needs of both SUNO and UNO students. The LLBC sees this as the beginning of a systematic demise of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in this state. The LLBC issues a sincere thank you to the following members of the Board of Regents who stood up and opposed this merger: Mrs. Maurice Durbin – Denham Springs, La; Mr. Chris Gorman – Shreveport, La; Atty. Donna Klein – New Orleans, LA; Dr. Albert Sam, II, - Baton Rouge, LA; Mr. Victor Stelly – Lake Charles, La and Mr. Demetrius Sumner – Student Representative.
Dr. Sam is a recent addition to the Regents' board after cricisms that Jindal had appointed white-men who have also contributed to his campaign. Sam is African American.