Louisiana Governor Proposes Merging Historically Black Southern University of New Orleans With a Predominantly White University

Bobby Jindal, the popular GOP governor of Louisiana, has ordered a study that will consider the feasibility of merging the historically black Southern University of New Orleans with the predominantly white University of New Orleans. Both institutions have seen a drop in enrollments since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

Governor Jindal suggested that the new combined university become part of the University of Louisiana systems. Currently, Southern University of New Orleans is one of three members of the Southern University system. The University of New Orleans is under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State University system.

Ronald Mason Jr., president of the Southern University system, stated that he was “shocked” by the governor’s proposal. In 2010, Mason had suggested that the University of New Orleans should be absorbed into the Southern University system.

A similar proposal made by Mississippi governor Haley Barbour in 2009 to merge historically black universities with nearby predominantly white institutions was met with a major uproar on the black campuses.