Isn't it a shame that we place such a low priority on funding higher education in this state, that we can not enter into common sense discussions about realignment without raising "conspiracy issues" and other absurd arguments ("Changing Stripes," May 17)?

Why do we have four boards of management in this state and not have schools with similar missions under the same management boards? You have a board for community colleges that was created to link with the VoTech schools, a good idea. Yet you have LSU-E and Southern Shreveport, both two-year colleges and both in separate systems.

The LSU study that suggested looking at merging LSUS, LSUHSC, and LaTech, makes perfect sense to create a regional medical institution with strong undergraduate and graduate programs that are needed here in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Let the new creation stay in the LSU System and eliminate the need for Tech-Barksdale here in the community. Why do we have two community colleges here in Shreveport-Bossier? Simple, you have two schools, SU-Shreveport, and BPCC, both operating under different boards, and both "competing" against one another for an ever shrinking funding source.

I have been involved in higher education issues over the past 20 years, as a member of the LSUS Alumni Board, LSUS Foundation President, LSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, LSU Law Center Chancellor's Advisory Committee, LSUS Adjunct Professor, and also have served on the ULS Board of Supervisors, serving as its chair for 2004-2005. In addition, I serve on Centenary College's Board of Trustees. I have three degrees from LSU and another degree from the University of Oklahoma.

I have only one agenda and that is to improve higher education for all residents of Louisiana. You do not achieve such by tearing one institution down at the expense of others. LSU is only as strong as ULL, Southern University, UNO, or BPCC. In my study of history, I do not ever recall a flagship winning a naval battle without help from those destroyers and battleships surrounding it. Let's continue the debate using some common sense and improve all of higher education here in Louisiana.

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