The spring semester brought with it the controversial question of whether LSU-Shreveport, which falls under the LSU System, should merge with Louisiana Tech University, which falls under the University of Louisiana System.

The issue first came about when consulting company Eva Klein & Associates released a report suggesting LSUS merge with La. Tech and exist under the University of Louisiana System. LSUS contracted Eva Klein to research ways to improve its impact.

"The consultant report promoting a merger of LSUS and Louisiana Tech issued recently represents that a reorganization is likely to place authority for all LSU units on the LSU A&M campus and consolidate the various units into that campus in Baton Rouge," former LSU System president John Lombardi wrote in an email responding to the report.

Charles Zewe, LSU System vice president for communication and external affairs, refused to further explain Lombardi's e-mail to The Daily Reveille.

If LSUS did join the UL System, it would be the second LSU system institution to do so in the last year; the University of New Orleans left the LSU System for UL in December.

LSU's Director of External Affairs, Jason Droddy, told The Daily Reveille in February that the talk of merging goes back at least a decade.

Droddy said the original discussions suggested combining LSUS, La. Tech and the LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport.

The combination of the two colleges with the addition of a medical center would create a similar entity to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he said.

About a week later, the Board of Regents recommended the merger.

The recommendation was included in a study of the merger sent to the Legislature.

Even if the merger is not approved by the Legislature, the report recommended LSUS still transfer to the UL System as an independent entity.

In March, the Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to pass a resolution to officially oppose the possible merger of LSU Shreveport and La. Tech.

"We value all entities in the System," said Hank Danos, Board chairman.

In April, the LSU System work group on organization and collaboration announced that it plans to create up to 24 new degree and certification programs at

LSU-Shreveport, according to a LSU System news release.

The Commitment Plan was the group's first response to the resolution passed in March for all LSU System institutions to dedicate more efforts and cement the system's commitment to the school.

In a memo to Danos, Lombardi said the initiatives "will have immediate impact in the Shreveport-Bossier area and a number of longer-term initiatives for institutional expansion and regional collaboration."

According to the release, the plan, which will be rolled out over an 18-month period, won't require any additional state funding but will be supported by self-generated funds like tuition and potential private donations.

"Board of Regents approval is not necessary for programs extended from LSU A&M because the Flagship Campus already has a recognized statewide mission," the release states.  

____

Contact Rachel Warren at rwarren@lsureveille.com

Load comments