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One Board to Rule Them All

It’s been discussed and studied, more than once.

“I got a nice report, plenty of paper. Nothing’s happened.”

So Senator Conrad Appel  of Metairie says it’s time to consolidate governance of Louisiana higher education.

“My bill is to go with one board – one single board.”

Appel says lawmakers have tried to help Higher Ed do more with less, but, “I don’t see any progress. I don’t see any possibility of progress. And I don’t see any mo’ money.”

He also wants to break up what he calls the “political silos of power”.

“Every time we try to strengthen Regents, the systems come here and say, ‘Oh, don’t strengthen Regents because they would intrude upon our turf.’ It’s back to the silos.”

There were objections.

“I guess, Senator Appel, I’m here representing one of those silos,” Preston Castille, president of the Southern University Alumni Federation, began.

“You’ve got here in the state of Louisiana something that you should be championing – the only HBCU system in America. But instead of saying that we’ve got an incredible jewel here, we’ve chosen instead to cripple it, to cut it as much as we possibly can. And then we come back and say, ‘We should do away with this system because it’s not performing at the level that it should’.”

Appel asked Castille how many of the Southern University facilities are in close proximity to other public universities, and when Castille replied, “All of them,” Appel then asked if that made sense – simply looking at it as a business model.

When it came time to vote, Senator Mike Walsworth of West Monroe observed, “I think it’s more of an indictment on all of us, that we’ve tolerated and we’re satisfied with being last. And even in my own area, it’s more about football than it is about teaching our kids. But when it’s last place school at football, we don’t allow that, and we throw the coach out.”

And the Senate Education Committee voted to — basically — kick the whole coaching team out, advancing the “One Board” bill.