Southern Alumni President Calls for Fair Treatment of HBCU’s in LA

The national president of the Southern University Alumni Federation on Thursday backed off statements he reportedly made in December to the newly formed Monroe chapter of the Southern University Alumni Federation saying the state’s higher education streamlining commission is attempting to downgrade the state’s two historically black universities, Grambling State and Southern.

According to an e-mail message sent by a Grambling alumni group, which had representatives at the meeting, to its members, Domoine Rutledge said the Postsecondary Education Review Commission in a few months will release a report that will call for drastically reducing the role of Southern and GSU.

Rutledge reportedly said the commission’s plan is to drive more students into community and technical colleges and fund colleges based on graduation rates rather than enrollment, which would harm GSU and Southern more than the state’s other universities, Rutledge reportedly said.

He reportedly characterized the plan as being specifically aimed at GSU and Southern.

Rutledge said Thursday he was not aware his statements would be reported and said the statements attributed to him in the e-mail “are not direct quotes.”

Rutledge said Thursday there was license in the account of his remarks, and said some of the statements attributed to him were not accurate.

Rutledge said he still has some concerns with recommendations that will come from PERC, created legislatively last year and tasked with finding ways to streamline higher education, including trimming higher education spending for the 2010-11 fiscal year by $146 million as part of the state’s reduction in spending that is due to a budget shortfall (estimated at $1 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1).

“We are concerned about Grambling and Southern being lost in the shuffle,” Rutledge said.

“My intention all along is to make certain Grambling and Southern have a seat at the table.”

PERC member James Davison Thursday defended the work of the commission, which will meet for two days next week and in February before making recommendations to the Legislature.

“Nothing like that has ever been discussed,” Davison said.

“If anything, the commission is looking for ways to enhance those universities as well as the others. I don’t sense anything from the commission that would indicate anything else. Personally, I’ve been an advocate for Grambling for years and plan to continue my support.”

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  • James Mahomes

    Reply Reply January 31, 2010

    I want to thank our National President for hands-on in this particular situation. We are all concern about the status of Our Black State Funded Colleges and University. Our HBCU’s are always on or near the chopping block. The President was correct, Southern and Grambling has reasons to be concern. Southern University, even after being on line and producing for one hundred and thirty years (130), annually, she must justify her existence. Our neighbors in Mississippi; Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University are fighting merger/consolidation.

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