Should Albany State University and Darton College merge? -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Should Albany State University and Darton College merge?

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

December 1, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Georgia Senator put a controversial proposal on the table Monday. He wants to merge Albany State University with Darton College, a suggestion that doesn't sit well with some of his colleagues.

During a budget hearing Monday, Senate Higher Education Chairman Seth Harp told University System of Georgia leaders that they need to look at merging historically black colleges with nearby majority-white schools. Harp says it would save money.

Newly elected Senator Freddie Powell-Sims is against the proposal. She says historically black colleges don't get enough funding as it is.

"What are you asking us to sacrifice here? And should you ask us to do that? Certainly it's something that clearly the state legislature has to take a very, very close look at because standing in my shoes and being a historically black school product, I take it as an affront," said Powell-Sims.

"We're looking at a cut in the magnitude of somewhere between $230-million to maybe substantially more than that," said Harp, "If Albany had one college instead of two, they could focus on making it the best college for the community."

In a statement, Darton College President Dr. Peter Sireno said, "The proposal by Seth Harp is interesting, but not surprising.  I have not been informed that the University System of Georgia is considering this option."  

Albany State referred questions to the Board of Regents.

Senator Harp also suggests merging Savannah State University with Armstrong Atlantic University.  He says he knew the proposal would come with some opposition but with budget issues, it's a proposal he'll continue to push.