Study Advocates Dismantling of Southern System; Conflicts with Latest Report on Importance of MSIs
A study commissioned by the Louisiana Board of Regents recently yielded a draft report calling for the merger of the entire Southern University System into the University of Louisiana System for a more “ideal” higher education product for the state of Louisiana. Higher education leaders in the state say that there are no plans for dissolving the Southern system, and that the draft report, which still is under review and subject to amendment, will not sway any decision on merger or realignment.
Southern System President Ronald Mason says that, while non-threatening, any suggestion against the advancement of the Southern System is a losing proposition for Louisiana.
“The Board of Regents had stated that it has no intention of recommending any governance or structural changes in Louisiana Higher Education,” says Dr. Mason. “As far as an “ideal” system is concerned, it is hard to see how a state with as many challenges as Louisiana, especially in the Black community, would ever dismantle a unique asset (such as) the Southern System of Higher Learning, the only Historically Black University System in America.”
The news contrasts with a report released this week by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, which has added data to a claim consistently made by HBCU presidents and supporters over the last 20 years; institutions with missions catering to the success of minority students are essential to the nation’s ultimate goals of degree completion and innovation.
The report, produced in partnership with the Lumina Foundation for Education, puts forth five advocacy objectives in support of HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. The report is part of a three-year Lumina MSI Models of Success initiative, which will use MSI models of achievement, policy briefings and technical support to advance support of minority-serving institutions.