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Students concerned over KSU, Southern Poly merger

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MARIETTA, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Students at both Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University weighed in on a plan that would combine the two into KSU. It's a decision that the The University System of Georgia Board of Regents will have to approve at its next meeting in November.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby said the move would put the schools' student bodies together in one, for a total of more than 31,000 students.

"This proposal offers us some exciting possibilities to enlarge our academic outreach through the existing talent and resources at both these institutions," Huckaby said.

But students like Erin Smith, a sophomore at Southern Poly, were not happy. Smith is worried about class sizes at her school, which only has about 5,000 students now, getting bigger.

"It's a smaller school, my professors know my name and that is a major thing for me because it makes it easier for me to be in school knowing my professors know who I am," Smith said.

But Luke Mealer, an industrial engineering major who will graduate next year, said he is concerned about losing Southern Poly's prestige in the engineering field.

"Most here are upset mainly because Southern Poly's known as an engineering school, Kennesaw is more of a liberal arts type of school, so they're mainly worried about once they graduate, what they're degree's going to say," Mealer said. "If it says Kennesaw State with engineering, they're worried about the reputation of their degree when they graduate."

But a KSU student, Rich'ai Reid, thinks the move will benefit students at her school.

"I think it's a really good idea in terms of revenue and bringing more disciplines to Kennesaw State University," Reid said. "I can't wait for them to come on over."

A group opposing the merger set up a Facebook page. It is called Keep SPSU and KSU Separate.

There is an open forum planned with both school presidents at the SPSU student center theater at 4 p.m. Monday, November 4 according to the Facebook page. At 6 p.m., a Hornet rally is planned at The Globe.

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