By MANDY THOMAS
Tech faces possible but indefinite change as potential
ideas are being considered for a merger between Tech and Louisiana State
University-Shreveport’s campuses. If enacted, the merged schools would be under
the LSU System.
Tech is a member of the University of Louisiana System,
which includes seven other Louisiana schools: Grambling State University,
University of Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State University-Lake Charles, Nicholls
State University-Thibodaux, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Northwestern
State University-Nachitoches and Southeastern Louisiana University-Hammond.
The current chatter of collaboration is about merging
Tech with Louisiana State University-Shreveport and Louisiana State
University-Health Science Center, both members of the LSU System.
“The idea is that an appropriate combination with Shreveport
will benefit the people of the state and especially the people of the northwest
corner of the state,” Tech President Dan Reneau, said.
This year, for the first time, Tech was ranked by U.S.
News & World Report in the same academic level as LSU-Baton Rouge, for
areas such as doctoral research and engineering. Reneau said this progress
makes Tech a desirable enhancement for prospective students, alumni and the
business chambers of Shreveport.
“There is a richness, a diversity, a culture and a
uniqueness to this institution,” Reneau said.
The combination of the aspects of each campus in
consideration for a merger would have its pros and cons.
Reneau said many of the problems lie in emotional issues
such as changing names or programs, which both contribute to the identity of
Reneau said he believes the leadership would have to
remain in Ruston.
“Tech is the flagship, and it is non-negotiable,” Reneau
said. “Tech would have to be the mother campus.”
Carrie Kinnaird, a sophomore chemical engineer major,
said she does not understand the necessity of merging the schools.
“Tech already has really good programs and everything it
needs,” Kinnaird said.
She also said the reason most people come to Tech is
because they do not want to go to LSU.
“If I wanted to be a part of the LSU school system, I
would have gone to LSU,” Kinnaird said.
Reneau said the idea is being discussed at the state
board level and will not go away. However, the decision is still very premature
and would take a two-thirds vote from the Louisiana Legislature to pass.
Reneau also said while the recent budget restraints due
to Hurricane Katrina at several Louisiana schools may have sparked the current
talk of merging, money is not a main issue other than opening and enhancing
opportunities for funding.