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Southern Faculty Oppose University’s Higher Admission Standards

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Southern University Faculty Senate voted Thursday to oppose recently approved increases in admission standards.

The Faculty Senate also issued a vote of “no confidence” in Southern University System interim President Kassie Freeman.

Southern Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Clayton said the university’s new admission standard hikes will move forward as planned, despite the faculty opposition.

“The admissions will stand,” Clayton said. “We are moving forward. They’ve given their input and I respect it.”

When the increased standards were approved last week, Clayton presented the motion in a way that required additional faculty input and support.

Clayton said adjustments could be made if the faculty opposed the changes, but he never made any guarantees.

Now, Clayton is standing firm not to change what was approved.

Faculty Senate President Sudhir Trivedi said he is afraid large admission standards increases will “disenfranchise” Black students and historically Black colleges.

“As long as this state fails to provide sufficient resources and education in K-12 (schools) to the African-American student population … we are rejecting it,” Trivedi said.

He said community colleges are virtually full and cannot accommodate many more students without infrastructure growth.

Trivedi said he hopes the Southern board would follow the faculty’s wishes.

For this fall, Southern will increase grade-point average requirements to admit high-school seniors from a 2.0 to a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Phasing in the changes, Southern’s ACT test prerequisite would go from 20 to 21 in 2011 and to 22 in 2012, out of a 36 maximum score.

Southern will maintain its “or” admissions guidelines.

In 2012, students can gain acceptance with either a 2.5 grade-point average or a 22 ACT score.

Southern also can make exceptions for students with 2.5 GPAs, even if they only have a 2.0 GPA in their core curriculum classes.

The Southern University System presidential search committee is hoping to select a new president by the end of April.

Freeman became interim president in July.

Clayton said Dr. Freeman should not be punished for making tough choices during a time of financial crisis.

“Kassie Freeman has been doing a good job trying to move the university forward,” Clayton said. “It’s unfortunate the faculty has voted that way.”

Both of the Faculty Senate votes were unanimous, with 16 of 22 faculty senators present.

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