Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three Mississippi HBCUs could be consolidated

This is news! Alcorn State and Jackson State Universities are rather well known HBCUs. Can't really say that about Mississippi Valley State (MSVU), the only thing I know about that school is that I have two relatives as alumnus from that school.

This almost reminds me of a story out of Georgia, where the state government there wanted to merge public HBCUs not with other public HBCUs, but with other more majority public universities. Unfortunately it's just the sign of the times state governments are stuggling right now. Some states are doing better than others, but in those that aren't doing well, they have to consider consolidating services or cutting them.

That's what was going on in Georgia and Mississippi. The thing is in this article there may be some serious opposition from Alcorn Alumni at least. This story however indicates that these three aforementioned HBCUs will be merged amongst each other. It looks like Jackson State University may have satelite campuses that consist of Alcorn and MSVU campuses. It's just that those two universities will likely have to give up their individual identity, they will no longer have their individual athletic programs.

With Jackson State however, there is one benefit for them:
[Miss. Gov. Haley] Barbour said the mergers will also elevate Jackson State as a premier historically black college and urban university.
But what would that say about Alcorn and MVSU? What about those communities that surround those universities? Jackson State may benefit by acquiring scholars from those other schools and the works of those scholars. Perhaps there will be an increase in enrollment for Jackson State University because what was once three choices is now one. I can't say for certain.

It can be said that some alumni will have some problem with this proposal in spite of this environment:
Although the governor said it will save millions of dollars for the state, some Alcorn students past and present said it'll destroy a priceless legacy. Lawmakers would have to approve the governor's plan to merge the schools before it happens. The governor said the plan may not be popular, but it's necessary to help balance the 2011 budget as revenues continue to fall. "It would be like stripping us of part of our culture and out heritage and our camaraderie," said Alcorn graduate John Smith.

Smith graduated from ASU in 1999. He was a football player. He said news of merger upset him.

"That would kill the legacies left behind by the Steve McNairs, the Walter Peytons, the Issac Holts, the Jerry Rices," Smith said.
Universities that could be affected responded to the news.

"The Alcorn State University National Alumni Association will vehemently oppose any proposal that will include the merger of our beloved Alcorn State University," said ASU National Alumni Association president James McDonald.

"We will fight against merger and closure and will work to secure the funding and support necessary to keep it independent and healthy while honoring its mission," said Friends of the W.
The choices states have to make in this environment. Especially in terms of financial viability. This will have to be either cut or consolidated. There would be much help from Uncle Same right now. As a result three historic Black colleges may have their futures altered thanks to this current financial environment.


Anonymous said...

I hope the Federal Government stops this proposal immediately, and makes Mississippi give those colleges the money awarded to them a decade ago - with INTEREST!

Levois said...

Can you offer some more details on this money? What do you know about it?

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