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SUNO/UNO merger would hurt New Orleans

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This is a letter to the editor from New Orleans City Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, who represents the district the includes both UNO and SUNO:

All of my adult life, I have seen a long series of proposals intended to tear down New Orleans emerge from Baton Rouge as so-called “reforms.” The rivalry that Baton Rouge feels for New Orleans is a tragic thing because it harms both cities. I oppose Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to merge Southern University at New Orleans and the University of New Orleans, both of which are located in District D.

Southern University at New Orleans represents the hopes and aspirations of generations of African-Americans who cannot afford the costs of private universities. Many of SUNO’s students are working adults. It is not unusual for them to spend six or seven years toward earning a degree as they juggle jobs, family responsibilities and school. Also SUNO is still rebuilding its campus and enrollment after almost total devastation in Hurricane Katrina.

Being a former teacher and principal, I have long admired the ability of the SUNO faculty to create a unique educational environment that provides each student the opportunity to develop, based on ability and need. Thus, SUNO has graduated thousands of Louisiana’s best teachers, social workers and law enforcement professionals.

As for the University of New Orleans, I personally received an excellent education there. UNO for some 50 years has excellently performed the unique role of a public urban university, helping build a middle class that has enabled metro New Orleans to become an economic engine for the state.

If Gov. Jindal succeeds in his so-called reform of merging UNO and SUNO, nothing good would come of it. The SUNO constituency would be the greatest losers. Many would be deemed unqualified and thereby denied entrance to the merged university, when in fact their passion and ambition make them highly qualified. The proposal is a terrible thing that could increase racial disharmony.

I am extremely disappointed in Gov. Jindal. It is my hope that New Orleanians will come together as one to reject this latest effort to tear down our city.

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell
Council member, District D
New Orleans

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Written by demon53

January 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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