After the Merger Bill is Shelved What's Next For LSUS?

Tim Goral's picture

After the defeat of the LSU-Shreveport and the Louisiana Tech University merger, community members — for and against merger — are wondering what's next.

One thing is for sure, for better or for worse, things won't stay exactly the same.

"The good that has come out of this: there is a lot of attention toward this part of the state," said Paul Sisson, LSUS provost and vice chancellor.

The attention came after the SB Higher Education Imperative along with other organizations commissioned a report from higher education consultant Eva Klein.

That report recommended that, to increase offerings at the campus, LSUS should be moved into the University of Louisiana System or merge with Tech.

At the end of February, the Louisiana Board of Regents, which also helped pay for the report, voted to accept it and recommended to merge the campuses. That pushed the ultimate decision to state legislators.

On Tuesday, after a heated debate on the House floor, the bill was shelved, killing its progression for the rest of the session.

The reason? There were not enough votes to pass.

"We were short by 10 votes," said Dr. Phillip Rozeman, head of the Imperative.

The next step for the organizers of the merger is to continue the fight. They know what went wrong and they'll try about next year. Rozeman said it was lack of education and the swirling of rumors that kept legislators from voting for the bill. There also were legislators who worried that merging LSUS and Tech would create a precedent for mergers of other campuses in the future.

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