In the wake of the failed SUNO/UNO merger, it appears the University of New Orleans could be leaving the LSU System for the UL System.
On Thursday, the proposal to move UNO into the UL System sailed through the Senate Education Committee, a day after House Speaker Jim Tucker scrapped Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposed SUNO/UNO merger for lack of two-thirds support in the House. Tucker is a UNO grad.
The new substitution legislation, which drops historically black SUNO from the discussion, is a straight transfer of UNO into the UL System. UNO was named LSUNO until 1974.
In the substitute legislation, UNO would keep its name and join the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Louisiana Tech University as universities with a stronger research focus in the UL System, which also includes Grambling, McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern, Northwestern and UL Monroe. Supporters say the move would alleviate the pressure on UNO to compete with the state’s flagship university and also say LSU has kept UNO down for too long.
The Advocate reported:
“The folks at the University of New Orleans have, for a long time, felt the university would prosper better [in the UL System],” Republican Sen. Conrad Appel of Metairie said.
“They [UNO alumni] think the LSU System has held them back for a number of years,” added state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.
But there is still much to be debated in the proposal to add Crescent City flavor to the UL System. UNO professor and “Save UNO Coalition” representative Vern Baxter said the process is moving too quickly without any data or studies, according to The Advocate. The paper noted that Baxter also expressed concerns that the UL System approved rules in February that allows colleges to lay off faculty, including tenured professors, more quickly and easily during times of budget cuts and academic program eliminations.
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