ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany State University alumni want less talk and more action, which was the message that drove Tuesday’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Forum in Albany.
The people attending said they want to protect HBCUs from a Senate bill that’s proposing change.
Emotions ran high during the HBCU forum as the future of three South Georgia HBCU schools hung in the balance.
“If you don’t have the power and courage to lead, sit down, get out of the way and give it to somebody that can lead because we are in trouble,” said alumna Sabrina Hayes.
Passionate words filled the Albany Police Department headquarters as alumni of Albany State University gave a call to action Tuesday in hopes of saving three of South Georgia’s HBCUs.
Community members called out city and state leaders to step up and put a plan in place to save a rich heritage of higher learning.
“I’m tired of sellout leadership. They give you a few cows and a few hogs, and then they take the whole farm. But we need to start operating with some courage and start thinking about the people that are to come,” said Hayes.
This was the third HBCU forum in light of Senate Bill 278.
That proposed bill would merge Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State University into Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University. The schools would also be under a new, separate university system instead of the University System of Georgia.
“There are just some things that a child will get from an HBCU that they will not get from a non-HBCU and we need to keep it together. I mean it’s our history,” said Hayes.
Five state senators have withdrawn from the controversial bill but the community said that’s not enough and is now working on a plan to improve the quality of each institution.
“There hasn’t been any research or study to support this bill and before we look at passing such a bill, we seriously have to look at the research that supports or does not support the bill,” said Concerned resident James Hill.
Committees were formed to look at housing issues, enrollment and financial aid, all things that affect the quality of these universities.
The group said they want to meet again but it has yet to set a date.