Georgia State Senator Lester Jackson is pushing a bill that would merge three south Georgia HBCUs into a single university system.
Senate Bill 270 is a response to low enrollment at Albany State, Savannah State, and Fort Valley State universities. Under the bill, the three schools would be rolled into a new university system, Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University, and share resources, but would continue to be run independent of one another and would not be part of the University of Georgia system.
Opponents of the bill will have a negative impact on the schools’ status as HBCUs and will deter students interested in an education at and HBCU from attending the schools, “There are just some things that a child will get from an HBCU that they will not get from a non-HBCU and we need to keep it together. I mean it’s our history,” alumna Sabrina Hayes said, speaking to WALB.
Hayes was in attendance at a forum to discuss the proposed bill, the third meeting of it’s kind, and decried the lack of a plan to keep the HBCUs intact, “There are just some things that a child will get from an HBCU that they will not get from a non-HBCU and we need to keep it together. I mean it’s our history.”
Five state senators have pulled their support for the bill, and it’s expected to be reintroduced in January 2020. In the meantime, issues of housing, financial aid, and enrollment continue to be reviewed.