Integration at Southern and LSU, Should we keep trying?

Discussion in 'Free Speech Alley' started by LOTTERY, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. LOTTERY

    LOTTERY Founding Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    Higher education integration a costly failure


    By JOHN LAPLANTE
    [email protected]
    Capitol bureau chief

    Baton Rouge's two universities remain about as segregated as they were nearly a decade ago, when state officials agreed to spend more than $120 million to erase all traces of the old policy of racial separation in Louisiana higher education.
    At LSU, one student out of 11 is black. That's slightly less lopsided than the one out of 12 in fall 1995.

    At Southern University, white enrollment is shrinking. The school had one white student out of 30 in 1995, but one out of 50 last fall.

    Will LSU and Southern ever show a student mix that approaches the racial mix of the state or the area?

    As a 10-year commitment to a desegregation settlement nears its end, perhaps a better question is this: Should anybody care?

    Southern is viewed, from inside and outside its community, as a black college run by the black community to educate black students. No one is talking about changing that philosophy.

    Neither is LSU planning any major policy shifts. The emphasis these days is on achieving national prominence, not racial balance. And the general shortage of black students does not seem to retard the school's ability to recruit top black student-athletes.

    Maybe we shouldn't care whether the campuses are more integrated. But shouldn't we care that the state will end up spending about $120 million to settle a desegregation lawsuit that achieved so little integration?

    Nearly all that money went to black colleges, and the most went to Southern University in Baton Rouge, under the 1994 settlement.

    The settlement was just a means "to preserve the black institutions, with an attempt to attract a few white students" to black campuses, says James Caillier, who participated in the negotiations as the then-president of what is now the University of Louisiana System.

    "We were perpetuating the status quo," and everyone knew it, Caillier said in a recent interview.

    The lawsuit started as an attack on the status quo.

    In 1974 the plaintiffs alleged Louisiana, in practice, ran two higher education systems -- one white and one black -- even though laws banning black students from white colleges had been struck down by civil-rights-era court decisions.

    During the generation since then, the focus turned to preserving each college – protecting the turf that was planted during previous generations of segregation.

    Some integration did occur. Some colleges in Louisiana now nearly reflect the racial mix of the area they serve. And Baton Rouge Community College, a creation of the settlement, boasts a healthy black-white ratio.

    But little has changed at LSU and Southern.

    The latest status report on the settlement notes that Southern created nine new degrees in hopes of attracting white students. Only 15 out of about 350 students seeking those degrees last fall are white. And Southern has failed, despite the extra money and programs, to move up a notch in its regional academic classification, as the settlement envisioned.

    Meanwhile, LSU remains unable to enroll many more black students despite its rising national profile.

    Caillier said only "drastic action," such as dropping some degrees at one university and offering them only at the other, would integrate Baton Rouge's universities. And that won't happen because LSU and Southern both view themselves as full-service campuses.

    Letting Southern keep its own management board, with mostly black members, also ensures the university will be run with a black perspective, Caillier said.

    Only a single state higher education board, looking at all campuses at one time, could make some decisions that might produce racial integration, Caillier said. At one time a federal judge actually ordered a single board. But it was delayed, then dropped, as an integration tool.

    But Caillier said the state might not be any worse off because of the settlement.

    After decades of legal and political struggle and many millions of dollars, the existence of a "black" university and "white" university in Baton Rouge "is a reality we had to accept," he said.

    John LaPlante is Capitol editor for The Advocate.
     
  2. Jetstorm

    Jetstorm Founding Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,218
    Likes Received:
    29
    I can also tell you that in my part of the state, very little has changed. Louisiana Tech University in Ruston remains about 85% white, while six miles away, Grambling State University remains 95% black. ULM and Northwestern State are also overwhelmingly white.

    This may not be a popular opinion in the black community, but the only way for true integration to be achieved in our state colleges would be to shut down or privatize the HBCUs. The article spelled it out in black and white; integration is not and never was the goal. This was simply an economic redistribution to shore up the HBCUs. HBCUs and their supporters are completely uninterested in integration. I think it is A) stupid to waste millions of dollars on a program no one will ever buy into when that money is so desperately needed elsewhere and B) very hypocritical to expect LSU to bend over backwards to increase it's black enrollment when Southern is not taking similar steps to increase it's white enrollment.

    The HBCUs are dinosaurs, relics of the segregated Old South, whose doors should have all been closed the minute the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. We've all known for quite a while now that Louisiana has too many four year colleges. True integration and a valuable savings would be achieved and a useless duplication and watering down of resources would be ended if Grambling State University and the Southern University System colleges were all privatized, reduced to two-year status, or closed outright. I wouldn't stop there; I would probably close or reduce at least two more schools, maybe as many as six. But I would start with the HBCUs.

    Those who disagree, flame away. Try not to play the race card too much.
     
  3. Bengal B

    Bengal B Founding Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    47,023
    Likes Received:
    22,171
    I don't see any problem. Any black student is free to attend LSU if he or she chooses to do so just as any white student is free to choose to attend Southern if that is where he or she wants to go to college. Nobody is prevented from attending either university because of race, religion or ethnicity. Unlike some places such as the University of Michigan, nobody is given preference over another applicant because of race.

    What is wrong with a system where applicants are admitted based upon their individual merits? Nothing at all. Both LSU and Southern are equal opportunity institutions.
     
  4. LOTTERY

    LOTTERY Founding Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with you Bengal B, but Jetstorm you're being selfish. Why should the HBCU's shut down instead of the majority white schools? I believe Southern gives out more degrees to Blacks than any college in the country. What makes NWST, ULM, or even LSU any more worthy than Southern. Further, if you read the article it says,

    "The latest status report on the settlement notes that Southern created nine new degrees in hopes of attracting white students. Only 15 out of about 350 students seeking those degrees last fall are white."

    Southern just like LSU has tried to attract students of opposite race but failed. Perception is a problem, thought. Southern is seen as a black college run by old black men. LSU is seen as a white college run by old white me. Both colleges must not just create new programs but push to recruit students from opposite race. Southern officials must go to Central High, Catholic, and other majority white high schools and LSU must recruit at Mckinley, Southern Lab, and Baton Rouge High which are majority black. Which ever college succeeds will be better off for it.
     
  5. martin

    martin Banned Forever

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    19,026
    Likes Received:
    934
    i agree with bengal b also. if people want to self-segregate, who am i to tell them that is wrong. if blacks hate whites and want to go to black schools, thats choice. i encourage everyone to like and dislike and choose whatever they please. racism is fine by me. racism is personal choice, racism is freedom.

    to me it is no different if you like black people or white people better or strawberry chewing gum better than blueberry. some people prefer different stuff. i happen to think redheads are not as sexy as blondes and brunettes. to me racism is basically the same, albeit more irrational. but what can i do, people are irrational in their choices, who cares.
     
  6. LOTTERY

    LOTTERY Founding Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, it's different in that these are public institutions that are government financed. They must strive for diversity. Further, we see when we a lot hate to spread without doing anything bad things happen. Unity and diversity is important.
     
  7. CParso

    CParso Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    10,852
    Likes Received:
    368
    I would have to say that Southern is certainly seen as more "racially segregated" than LSU. LSU's ratio was 1 to 11, white/black. Southern's was like, what, 1 to 50?? Honestly, when you think about the fact that black's are minorities and historically have lower rates of college enrollment - 1 to 11 seems right to me. Now why you think blacks go to college less is a totally different issue...
    And if blacks want to have a university where they can feel they are the majority - more power to them. But i don't think LSU is on a bad track right now.
     
  8. LOTTERY

    LOTTERY Founding Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    1 to a 11 is not good in a city that is almost half african american and a state that is between 25 to 35 percent black. Southern's percentage is bad also. The fact about Southern is that they have a lot of international students who are considered black. So just b/c they are 90 plus percent black doesn't mean they are that percentage African american. Also, if you look at the law schools. LSU's law school is only 10% MINORITY while SU is well over 30% white. If SU can do it with one of its schools, both LSU and SU can achieve diversity in all of their schools. Both colleges are "racially segregated" and they both need to do better. No one needs to take LSU's side and say Southern is worse or vice-versa. There is a problem and the universities need to fix it.
     
  9. CParso

    CParso Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    10,852
    Likes Received:
    368
    So Lottery, from what I've read before - I seem to think that your black. What I'm wondering is, why are you against having a black university? I agree that in principal if we are gonna say segregation is wrong - then it should go both ways. It just seems that the rules don't always apply when in use with minorities. I want to go to a school where I am with people i considered to be my peers. If I were black, and other young black guys were who I considered my peers - that's where I'd want to be in school at.
     
  10. MFn G I M P

    MFn G I M P Founding Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    87
    What I think needs to be remedied more than college integration is just getting people to finish high school and go to any college that they can. I was just reading the 2000 U.S Census data on Louisiana and only 32.4% of people over 25 have a high school diploma and only 61% of those that have graduated high school go on to get a bachelors degree, which equals out to 12.2% of the population over 25. Those numbers are simply appaling.
     

Share This Page