GSU president invites civil rights activist to help with a period of healing, moving forward
Rev. Jesse Jackson pledges to help GSU and other HBCUs.
GRAMBLING, LA. – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue invited national civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson to visit campus as a part of a period of healing and moving forward beyond the recent football team controversy and Jackson said yes.
“I want to do whatever I can to help Grambling at this time,” said Jackson, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, another historically black university. “It’s important that people everywhere know that what this proud institution faces is much bigger than football and much bigger than any one person because it is indicative of what’s happening at our HBCUs everywhere.”
“I am eternally grateful that the Rev. Jackson has been encouraging, engaged and supportive of our athletics and football programs, and our university generally, and I’m thankful that he has agreed to come and help us,” said Pogue. “The truth is that Rev. Jackson and I have been talking for weeks, well before the recent series of events.” Pogue said he and Jackson started working on a “Grambling State University Day” before the recent controversy erupted.
The GSU football team boycotted practices and training sessions and forfeited a football game at Jackson State University in Mississippi to bring attention to a number of concerns, most of which are connected to the university’s declining state support. In a few short years, the university’s state funding has been reduced by 56.3%. Pogue, who launched a presidential “ask” campaign during the 2012 homecoming, re-launched the campaign a few days ago, asking alumni and others to donate $1,000 – or whatever they can afford, something he discussed on the show.
Jackson and Pogue agreed to discuss a national campaign to help Grambling State University and other historically black colleges and universities. Jackson invited GSU to attend a weekend conference in Atlanta, and Pogue said someone from the university would be attending, though he will be on campus because there are a host of homecoming weekend activities.
Pogue said there is no specific date set for Jackson’s visit but it is expected to happen soon, and definitely before the 40th anniversary of the Bayou Classic football game between Grambling State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Nov. 30 in New Orleans.
During the two-hour radio broadcast syndicated on more than 30 radio stations nationwide, Pogue discussed the week’s events with Jackson then with two other guests. Among other points, Pogue detailed several problems caused largely by a deep decline in state funding and rising tuition costs for many families that cannot afford higher costs. He said the university could have admitted at least 30 percent more students this academic year but for ACT score minimums and development education needs.
In addition to Pogue, Jackson’s guests Lezli Baskerville, attorney and president of NAFEO/National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, and Barbara Arnwine, attorney and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Jackson launched his weekly radio show in 2004 with Clear Channel Communications. The show, which airs Sundays from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. Central and 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Eastern, airs on more than 30 radio stations. Learn more about the show at www.keephopealiveradio.com and see a state-by-state listing of radio stations carrying the show.
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