Everybody is Growing in NW Louisiana But Grambling. And Everybody at Grambling is Silent About It.

Big things are happening in Northwest Lousiana. Two months ago, Louisiana Delta Community College announced a nursing articulation agreement between the school and Northwestern State University, which will offer students earning nursing associate degrees a seamless pathway to undergraduate programs offered online at the four-year school. NSU will join the University of Lousiana-Monroe in nursing partnership with LDCC.

That news accompanied state officials’ plans to build a new campus for Delta Community College in Ruston, along with an accompanying technology park and access road that will all total more than $15 million in construction. And that new campus will be an extension of Louisiana Tech, which last month celebrated the final phases of construction on a new $30 million engineering and science facility, which will house the university’s cyber engineering program.

The week that several of these announcements were made, Grambling State University President Rick Gallot penned an open letter to the campus community, offering thoughts on what Grambling’s legacy would look like in the industrially competitive years to come.

And, what does that “push” look like today? Well, take a second to imagine with me. Let’s think about the world beyond Grambling where many of our graduates will live and work. When we get to the year 2030, what kind of jobs do you think we will see? What employers will be making the world-changing solutions that grow our economy? And, what tools do we think that workforce will need?

In the UL System, we are already strategizing around these questions. At Grambling State, we are already hard at work on the answers. From the progress toward Louisiana’s first bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity to partnering with the New Louisiana Angel Fund to empower entrepreneurs, we are working on the next installment of our legacy. 

It is hard to stomach that in one week, competing institutions around Grambling State, with the explicit support of Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, announced new degree programs and facilities which could stunt growth and expansion at the GSU in short order and for years to come.

While Grambling is one year away from offering the state’s first degree program in cybersecurity, the nation’s first cyber engineering program launched at Louisiana Tech in 2013 will have a glittering new facility to attract more students from the region and beyond and opening its doors in 2019.

Grambling’s rebooted nursing program returned to campus this fall, but will now compete with a satellite nursing campus for Northwestern State and ULM less than 50 miles away without the negative brand of having lost authorization from the state’s board of nursing.

Grambling still awaits construction for a new library, which nearly two years after seeing Grambling’s dilapidated facility and deeming it a “failure” of the state, seemingly remains low on Gov. Edwards priority list against developing everything in Grambling’s geographic footprint, but not Grambling.

Louisiana has failed Grambling for generations. But the failure is being exacerbated by growth around the university at proximate PWIs, and by the silence of Gallot and Grambling’s leadership.

State officials are building a new community college and planting resources around nursing and cyber defense and design all in Grambling’s backyard while Grambling silently waits for its turn to get even basic investments. And while it may be difficult to imagine Gallot or any other state employee publicly holding elected officials and the University of Louisiana System to account for these disparities, something has to give; and it appears that Grambling’s survival is less of a priority than the livelihoods of campus leaders and political clout of GSU advocates.

Make no mistake; the State of Louisiana is trying to knock Grambling off the map. The programs which made GSU strong are being virtually duplicated and lavished with resources at nearby PWIs. Grambling students are being deprived of facilities and professional training amenities that would make the living and learning experience comparable with other state schools in the region. Alumni are not being alerted about the danger these issues present to the future of the school.

And when you balance all of this against the UL System’s mandate to increase enrollment over several years to virtually unattainable goals, the picture of the plan to starve Grambling to death is beyond what some would like to describe as fake news or conspiracy theory. It is real and happening now.

Maybe no one wants to hold state officials accountable, but someone who holds Grambling near and dear ought to think about consequences for those on campus who insist on silence in the face of the onslaught.

7 comments
  1. Let us rally and support the GramFam! We must attend the sessions the president and staff avails to see what we can offer in support GSU as well as be public enlightenment of what the university helped us to become. We have more than 30k graduates with ideas and funding that can help make a difference if we are business oriented and have a real desire to help.

    One plants, one waters, but it is God that will give the increase.

    If we can look for areas of agreement for building positive change, we can do wonders. It does require self examination and self love that the GSU family has that will propel us into long lasting sustainability. Endowments that can help build facilities, scholarships, etc. If a third of our graduates gave $500 we could raise $5M and some have a company match that could increase that value. Not to mention all the brain power that is available to us.

    No matter how bad it is it won’t get better from watching only. Until we help make the change and participate in the growth and education of our legacy we won’t see the positive aspects we need.

  2. Yeah I would encouge GSU alum and faculty to get their concerns on the governors desk and in front of the UL System that governs all the expansion that is happen with the schools in the GSU region. You always know what important to higher education systems when they put money behind the mission. And if GSU Cybersecurity Program does not have a new facility and millions behind its launch it was never intended to be a successful longstanding program. Stay Woke GSU.

  3. I am a native of Louisiana , the state of Louisiana has been trying for decades to fold the HBCUs under the larger LSU system. They give money to all the PWIs. They create partnerships with the PWIs. The HBCU Alumni need to fight with every legal means available. They must also support the schools with their time, money and skills. If not Louisiana, will do what it has been trying to do for decades…close the HBCUs in that state, by rolling them under the LSU system…

  4. This article is pure crap. The governor is very aware of how important HBCU’s are. He was taught by them in high school from both SU and GSU. You are trying to use the state of our state as a means to downgrade a school because the governor has to work with people to balance budgets to cover so much. The audacity to have a position to shed light on the positive things our HBCU’s are doing, that you’d rather be like the outsiders who feel we shouldn’t exist. How shameful. Grambling’s President is doing everything in his power to get things done for them. How dare you speak negative about his leadership. Your comparison to the lack of financial support for Grambling shows just how stupid this article is. It is proven and well known that many HBCU’s are underfunded. This is nothing new. PWI’s have always surpassed us when it comes to progress because of the jumpstart they’ve always had. Go back and do some real research.

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