In Uncategorized on November 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

Yesterday, Governor Barbour released his much anticipated budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, to which controversy quickly followed the announcement of it. The controversy–more budget cuts. But this time, it is the dreaded word that all hate to hear around budget time: consolidation. The plan: consolidate higher education. The state of Mississippi funds 8 public universities: Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, Mississippi University for Women, Delta State University, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Alcorn State University. Under the Governor’s plan: Mississippi University for Women would merge or be consolidated with Mississippi State, and the states three HBCUs would become one super-HBCU (consolidate Alcorn and Mississippi Valley with Jackson State).

To say the face of higher education would change is an understatement. This morning there are many questions, concerns, and what-ifs. Yet there’s one guarantee about the upcoming legislative session: it will be a struggle, a fight to preserve the future of these institutions and even education in Mississippi. Kelvin Buck of Holly Springs, Chairman of the House and Colleges Committee sees the proposed plan as limiting access to higher education. In a Clarion Ledger article, Buck stated “I would disagree with the governor or anyone who would suggest that closing universities or reducing access and opportunity to a variety of educational course options is the way to go. While this may appear to some to be the answer, it is my view that this method would serve as only a short-term approach and would do considerable damage to the state’s future long-term economic viability.”


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