April Fool’s Issue
Higher education commissioner Jim Purcell stunned the University of Louisiana at Lafayette community Monday afternoon when he announced the Board of Regents’ decision to merge the university with South Louisiana Community College effective fall 2012.
“Merging these two colleges into a single institution, where the standards for both are met in the middle, will be the most efficient way to streamline our ailing budget while simultaneously getting more kids into college,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell at Monday’s press conference. “It’ll put less pressure on spending money on the long-term improvement of lower-performing public elementary and secondary schools as college attendance rates will only increase. Everything we do is about dollars, at this point.”
The measure comes alongside approval of the much-debated University of New Orleans and Southern University New Orleans merger.
“We trust in the Board of Regents’ decision,” said UL Lafayette President E. Joseph Savoie, Ph.D. “Instead of the state diluting its resources between the two schools—which inadvertently serve many of the same students over time—the state will concentrate funding by adjoining the two, and both schools will benefit in the long-run.”
Once complete, the merger will see UL Lafayette’s Business School wholly transferred to the SLCC campus, as an internal study conducted by both colleges revealed business students had the highest rate of students that have transferred to or from Lafayette’s community college.
“Most of our students choose the business major after never having developed a specific interest in any other specific field of study,” said College of Business Administration Dean Joby John, Ph.D. “We’ve become a catchall major for the students without any other direction, as they think having a business degree is better than one in general studies, although both have about the same socioeconomic significance.
“These non-serious business students, we found, were typically the same who began college at SLCC and transferred, or ended up there as fourth-year sophomores in efforts to improve their GPAs after university suspension,” added John.
Moody Hall’s location right next to University Police spurred UL Lafayette’s decision to turn the technologically apt building into a new 24-hour computer lab that will house a FedEx Office store within, upping UL Lafayette’s free student printing and publishing capabilities.
Student Government Association President Chris Groh publicly condemned the measure, citing the Regents’ decision as one aimed at “increasing the level of executive power already over-abused in Baton Rouge.
“It’s clear that the Board of Regents is focused primarily on concentrating the state’s premiere educational opportunities in Baton Rouge by lowering the standards of the state’s second-most-performing school,” Groh said, “undermining its developing credibility and shipping our best and brightest from Lafayette off to LSU,” he said at Monday night’s SGA meeting.
Link for Literacy founder Kristen Borchert also spoke down on the merger and said her organization is planning another march on the capitol on April 13 to protest consolidating the colleges.
“If UL can produce intelligent activists like myself who are ready and willing to speak and act on behalf of our university’s future,” she said, “the Board of Regents should think again before melding us into the same category as the less-than-intellectual ‘Slow Learning Community College.’”