And it has a lot to be proud of.
Since 1880, Southern University has established a tradition of excellence, and touts outstanding graduates, a global alumni network, rigorous academic programs, and a history of service to the underserved among its many achievements.
The SU System has produced a rich, proud legacy; it should be protected and preserved, at all costs.
Because the Jaguar Nation is in the fight of its life.
Note the following attacks:
- Since 2009, the SU System has seen more than $40 million in state budget cuts that have damaged the educational opportunities for students, forced the elimination of programs and courses, and shrunk student services.
- The anti-Southern University/anti-HBCU sentiment reached a tipping point when a bill to merge Southern University – New Orleans (SUNO) with the University of New Orleans was introduced during the 2011 Louisiana Legislative session. Had the legislation passed, the Southern University System would have been dismantled.
- Also in 2011, Southern University – Baton Rouge (SUBR) declared financial exigency, a direct result of declining enrollment (based in large part to increased admission standards mandated by a Republican-controlled Louisiana Board of Regents).
These attacks have forced SU to go into survival mode.
In an interview with Ovations, the Southern University System Magazine, SU System President Ronald Mason said, “These cuts strike a significant blow to our efforts as we move forward with plans to move Southern toward a more secure, distinguished place in higher ed.”
“We are the only HBCU system…how we navigate our financial and political challenges this year and next will determine our fate. Continuous and deep budget reductions, enrollment challenges, increased retirement and healthcare costs, and lack of reserves system-wide, will all have SACS [Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] accreditation and survival implications. We expect additional cuts in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, as well as proposals to merge or dismantle the SU System.”
It would seem that the war on HBCUs has been kicked up a notch.
In a series of statewide town hall meetings in which the survival and sustainability of SU was the topic, Pres. Mason discussed “the beginning of a renewed Southern”, where concerned graduates and HBCU brethren alike could find out more about where Southern University is, and what are its plans for the future.
Over the course of the next three years, the SU System will have to chart a path that addresses four major concerns:
- What it should be – A model 21st century institution of higher learning
- Who it should serve – Everyone, with a focus on the underserved, especially Black American males
- How should it deliver its product – Statewide and globally, on campuses and online
- Under what economic model will it operate – SU will take advantage of its system status to coordinate activities and programs, eliminate service duplication, increase economies of scale, and strengthen their component units
To put it more succinctly, the Southern University System has to re-brand itself as a model of 21st century higher learning.
Dr. Mason added the new Southern University must “Not only be Black, but [it must also be] the best at the same time.”
He concluded by noting that HBCUs have historically been the only institutions that have consistently “stood against the wolf” of Black folks’ oppression.
Right now, The Wolf is trying to protect its “proud history” of oppression and denial of human rights through DENIGRATING and DESTROYING a 132-year-long legacy.
The Wolf understands that if more African Americans are educated, then there are less African Americans going to jail, and if there’s no one in the jails, if there’s no one stuck with garbage collecting or street sweeping, then that snarling beast might actually – for once in his life – be forced to do his own dirty work.
And he can’t let that happen.
The Wolf doesn’t just WANT Southern University to fail; he NEEDS Southern University to fail.
If he can eliminate the only HBCU system in the country, the other HBCUs can easily be fattened up for the kill.