Grambling State Officials and Supporters Meet with Legislators to Discuss Higher Education

GSU Reps and Alums Meet at Capital with Legislators for GSU Day

Grambling State University representatives and alumni meet with Louisiana state legislators to discuss the state of higher education in Louisiana during GSU Day at the Capitol on April 28 in Baton Rouge.

GRAMBLING, LA – As a 50-year alumnae of Grambling State University, nothing was going to stop Bobbie Scott Williams from making it to Baton Rouge to discuss the state of higher education with Louisiana state legislators during GSU at the Capitol Day on April 28.

“I traveled through a storm to be here today,” said Williams, who is a 1965 graduate of Grambling from Beaumont, Texas. “I am here to support House Bill (HB) 129 and House Bill 171.”

HB 129 and HB 171 are two pieces of proposed legislation sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson aimed at helping historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana. HB 129 is aimed at increasing attendance at HBCUs by attracting students from other states. The bill would reduce undergraduate tuition and fees for out of state students who want to attend HBCUs.

HB 171 would help students who would normally go to a community college attend an HBCU, where the graduation rates are often higher. If passed, the legislation would exempt Grambling, Southern University and A&M College and Southern University at New Orleans from GRAD Act requirements to eliminate remedial courses.

“I think it certainly will empower us to be able to recruit non-traditional students who have been coming to the university historically since the very beginning,” said Sen. Richard Gallot, Jr. “I think it will un-tie our hands to a certain extent to be able to recruit more students and not have to turn students away who are seeking an education.”

Louisiana is facing a $1.6 billion funding shortage for the budget year that begins on July 1. Under a worst-case scenario, higher education institutions are facing cuts of more than $600 million for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, which would eliminate more than 80 percent of state funding.

“Grambling’s budget has been cut for the past five years, so another cut at this point would be devastating to our university. Because of the dire situation with the Louisiana state budget and the potential impact on our university and higher education as a whole, I want to speak with legislators to show them how important Grambling is to us,” said Felicia Henry, president of the Douglas L. Williams Alumni Chapter in Houston.

Kenyethia Jones, who works to recruit high school students to Grambling with the Houston alumni chapter, is worried that cuts will prevent Grambling from offering scholarships to “quality students that we recruit.”

“I was born and raised in Grambling, so I am always concerned about Grambling’s future. With all of these budget cuts, I am very concerned,” she said.

Grambling officials and supporters met with more than 20 members of the legislation, including Grambling alumni Rep. Edward Price, Sen. Gallot and Rep. Jeffrey Hall.

Grambling supporters also met with Senators Elbert Guillory and Edwin Murray and Representatives Patrick Jefferson, Robert Shadoin, Katrina Jackson, Wesley Bishop, Joseph Bouie, Jr., Barbara Norton, Marcus Hunter, Roy Burrell, Vincent Pierre, Patricia Haynes Smith, Kenny Cox, Randal Gaines, Dalton Honoré, Edward James and Terry Landry, Sr.

“As a member of the Senate and as a Grambling graduate and a Grambling resident, it’s important that we share with our colleagues the importance of Grambling State University. It’s a great opportunity to highlight the university and how important it is to our state,” Gallot said.


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