Georgia Lawmaker Says Black Colleges Unnecessary

Published December 30, 2008

In Georgia, where state officials are grappling with a $2 billion budget deficit, one lawmaker wants to merge to historically Black colleges with nearby White ones.

Republican Seth Harp, who is chairman of the State Senate Higher Education Committee, believes that fusing the two campuses would save the cash-strapped Peach State millions and would allow Georgia to do away with what he contends are discriminatory institutions.

But many Black educators, politicians and alumni say that historically Black colleges are serving a special need.

“Historically Black institutions play a vital role in the community, the state and the nation,” said Dwayne Ashley, the president of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, which supports Black colleges. “They provide educations to a number of young men and women who might not otherwise attend college.”

Ashley is joined by a host of other state officials, which is why the measure will not likely see the light of day.

“This proposal would continue a long history of White officials implementing an economic plan that disintegrates institutions in the Black community,” said Ruby Sales, the founder of SpiritHouse Project, a social justice organization that drafted a petition to save the Black schools. “Black educational history has been decimated under these types of desegregation plans.”

Written by <P>By BET.com Staff &amp; Wire Services</P>

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