BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana could save a lot of money and Grambling State University would get more attention if Grambling became part of the Southern University system, says Southern University board member Tony Clayton.
He said Grambling would retain its identity, but would be governed by the Southern Board of Supervisors rather than the University of Louisiana’s board, Clayton said.
“Grambling is not a high priority in the UL system,” he told The Advocate. “They would instantly be a top priority in our system.”
Clayton said he will propose the plan at the board meeting Nov. 23, one day after the annual Bayou Classic football game in New Orleans between Grambling and Southern.
Grambling and UL System administrators bristled at Clayton’s comments.
“Grambling is an important part of our system and should stay a part of our system,” said interim UL system president Tom Layzell.
Grambling President Frank G. Pogue Jr., said Clayton “needs to apologize to our faculty, our alumni and any student who hasn’t been born yet who will be coming to Grambling State University someday.”
Southern is the nation’s only historically Black university system, with nearly 14,400 students in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans.
Grambling, with 5,207 students, is among nine schools in the University of Louisiana system, which also includes Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Orleans.
Southern and Grambling both are part of the nation’s network of historically Black colleges and universities.
That’s all they have in common, said State Sen. Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, a Grambling alum.
“What I really think is that Tony Clayton has lost his mind, and I say that even though Tony is a friend of mine,” Tarver said.
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