One of the most divisive proposals facing lawmakers this session is up for its first legislative hearing today-the consolidation of historically black Southern University at New Orleans with the largely white University of New Orleans.
The House Education Committee on Wednesday will discuss the proposal by Republican House Speaker Jim Tucker.
The bill, supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal, would create the University of Louisiana at New Orleans in the University of Louisiana System. The merged campuses would share accreditation and leadership, though Tucker hopes SUNO could keep its status as a historically black college.
Supporters say the consolidation would improve education and better use available classroom space and resources. Opponents call the proposal racist and say it would diminish education opportunities for minority students.