Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to merge Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) and University of New Orleans (UNO) on the UNO campus to save the state money and improve education for students of both colleges died in the House late Wednesday. House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said he withdrew House Bill 537 when he realized he didn’t have the 70 votes necessary to pass it in the House and send it to the Senate for consideration.
Jindal introduced the idea of a merger in January (see Clancy DuBos’ take on the idea here), and the idea drew immediate opposition from SUNO faculty, administration (see Southern University System President Ron Mason Jr.’s comments here) and students, who have staged several protests, as well as the legislative Black Caucus. In addition, both black and white lawmakers from districts outside of New Orleans expressed fear that merging UNO and SUNO would serve as a precedent to close or merge other small colleges around Louisiana.
Tucker says he still will push legislation to switch SUNO and UNO from the Louisiana State University system to the University of Louisiana system.