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UNO-SUNO Merger Study Temporarily Halted

A group of seven Southern University students has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop a possible merger of historically Black Southern University at New Orleans with the University of New Orleans campus.

A Baton Rouge district judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the Board of Regents’ study of the issue and any merger until a Feb. 24 hearing about the matter.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the students by former state Sen. Cleo Fields argues that the Regents board studying a consolidation of the two campuses is unconstitutional because its racial and gender makeup under-represents Black and female Louisiana citizens.

The Board of Regents has hired a Colorado-based consultant to study the merger. Recommendations were supposed to be due to the Regents by March 1. The Board of Regents was scheduled to meet Feb. 23-24.

In December, Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed four new White men to the Board of Regents, which removed all the appointed minority members from the board. The only Black member of the 16-member board is the non-appointed student representative. The petition point out the state has a 37 percent racial minority population, according to the 2010 census data.

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