Southern U. Agriculture Program Could Get Millions in Settlement Dollars
Baton Rouge, La.
Southern University would get millions of dollars in extra state funding for agriculture over the next five years as part of a proposed desegregation settlement with Louisiana State University.
The proposed pact resolves “land grant”
issues related to LSU and Southern’s agricultural arms — the only piece of the college desegregation puzzle still up in the air.
The agreement still must be approved by state higher education boards and the U.S.
Department of Justice.
“If we can accomplish this, we will be the only Southern state to settle without Justice Department interference,” said LSU Agricultural Center Chancellor Bill Richardson.
Over time, the state would increase Southern’s agriculture department budget by $8.2 million. Another $5.5 million would be invested in construction over a five-year period .
“It will give us greater latitude of resources to address some of the problems. We have been limited by a lack of resources,” says Southern University President Leon Tarver.
Under the proposed settlement, the two universities would collaborate and coordinate agricultural research and extension service activities.
Both LSU and Southern are federally designated land-grant institutions, located on public land set aside in the 1800s to provide colleges of agriculture and the mechanical arts.
Southern is a historically Black university. LSU’s student population is overwhelmingly White. Under the proposed pact, agricultural research and extension programs would be a shared responsibility.
“A guiding principle with respect to programs and personnel will be to avoid unnecessary duplication,” the proposed agreement states.
Southern would target such areas as human nutrition, diet and health, urban forestry, marketing, policy and community development. Most of Southern’s focus would be to solve the problems of small farms and socially disadvantaged farmers.
Southern’s Board of Supervisors has approved the plan. Approval is expected by the LSU board in January. The state Board of Regents and U.S. Justice Department also approve the plan.
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