The action was taken because the Board of Regents postponed action on the proposed UNO-SUNO merger due to a lawsuit filed on Monday which resulted in a temporary restraining order.
Below is a press release from the Fields Law Firm announcing the current litigation. As part of the litigation, the lawsuit claims that Governor Bobby Jindal has violated the Louisiana constitution with his appointments to the Board of Regents.
On yesterday, seven (7) Southern University System students filed a legal action against Governor Bobby Jindal and the Board of Regents seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Declaratory Judgment declaring that the Board is unconstitutionally composed based on it’s current gender and racial make up. La. Const. Art. 8, Sec. 5(A)(B)(1) provides for the qualifications of the 15 members of the Board of Regents who are appointed by the Governor. This Constitutional Provision which was passed by both bodies of the Legislature and the majority of the people of this great state provides that “The board should be representative of the state's population by race and gender to ensure diversity” Governor Bobby Jindal, however ignored such constitutional requirements and removed all African-Americans and one woman replacing them with all white males.
According to the most recent gender based data available at the time of this suit, the 2000 Census, the state’s gender population is 51.6% female; However, females only represent 26% of woman on the board (4 out of 15 appointed members). Also, according to the most recent Census’ numbers, the 2010 Census the state’s population is made up of 37.44% racial minorities. However, there are currently no appointed racial minorities on this Board.
At this time, the Board of Regents is restrained from taking any further action concerning any merger of SUNO and UNO, conducting any study, or scheduling and holding any hearings and meetings on this issue. A hearing will take place on February 24, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. to determine if a Preliminary Injunction should issue pending the full disposition of the case. The Attorneys for the plaintiffs are Cleo Fields and Katrina Jackson.