ASU and Darton host merger town hall meetings - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

ASU and Darton host merger town hall meetings

Both Darton and ASU hosted full houses for town hall meetings about the merger. Both Darton and ASU hosted full houses for town hall meetings about the merger.
Some concerns involved the future of the Darton Athletic programs. Some concerns involved the future of the Darton Athletic programs.
Plenty of people showed up to Monday's town hall meetings with concerns about the merger of Albany State University and Darton State College. Plenty of people showed up to Monday's town hall meetings with concerns about the merger of Albany State University and Darton State College.
Both institutions had  full houses as people gathered on their campuses to discuss the future merger. Both institutions had  full houses as people gathered on their campuses to discuss the future merger.
ASU President Dr. Art Dunning ASU President Dr. Art Dunning
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Plenty of people showed up to Monday's town hall meetings with concerns about the merger of Albany State University and Darton State College. Both institutions had  full houses as people gathered on their campuses to discuss the future consolidation.

There is anxiety on both sides over the big changes that are coming.

The presidents of both colleges tried to answer some of the many questions the community had. They both admit it will be hard to blend two schools with very different cultures, but they hope to exceed people's expectations when it comes to the merger.

Graduate Michael Dye has a long history with Albany State University, he graduated in 1989 and his family also attended ASU.

"My brother and sister attended and my niece is here now as we speak," said Dye.

He hoped to get some answers about the merger, but said that these town hall meetings came a little late.

"I mean we knew it was possible, but it was like done in secrecy, so I feel this meeting is like putting the cart before the horse," explained Dye.

Dozens of people including students, faculty, and staff showed up at both campuses to hear more about the consolidation.

Kiana Lane, a Darton senior said it may make things easier if she decides to continue her education.

"Now that the merger is happening if I choose to go there, it would be easier from here, to go there," said Lane.

Some concerns involved the future of the Darton Athletic programs.

ASU President Dr. Art Dunning admitted some programs will be eliminated. They hope to know within the next few days what will happen with the Darton Athletic programs and said those on scholarships at Darton will continue to be supported.

Many were also curious about ASU's HBCU status, and what it means once the two colleges merge.

Dr. Dunning said that it is merely a reflection of ASU's history and is not meant to exclude anyone, but some worry that somewhere down the road the new blended university could lose that status.

Dr. Dunning said he looks forward to this merger and staying here in Albany.

"My family and I have embraced Albany and at the end of this interim process I didn't know whether I would stay and we have chosen to do that, 
and so I'm excited," said Dr. Dunning. 

Other questions came up concerning which campus will host the nursing program and whether or not there be transportation between the two campuses. 

They don't know which campus will host the nursing program and Dr. Dunning hopes to work with the city on transportation.

Another major concern people brought up was about how many jobs will be lost and whether employees will have to reapply. Officials say they are not sure at this point how it will work, but they say the process will be transparent.

Tina Burney, a teacher at Darton said that she is concerned but staying positive.

"I think everyone in some aspect is going to be concerned about their job, because when you do something as a consolidation 
there's always the opportunity that you could become one of those persons that has to leave for something to be better. Or stay for it to be better so everyone's job is at some point is at risk," said Burney

Officials have not said how many people have lost their jobs in previous college mergers, but that some people did have to reapply.

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