Friday, February 28, 2014

Fighting Injustice at Southern University

On Student Protests
Dayne Sherman
February 24, 2014
Op-ed column 
450 words

I like to see college students protesting injustice. So it was encouraging to hear about Southern University students up in arms after the shenanigans surrounding the effective firing of Chancellor James Llorens.

When students are engaged it shows they care. I don't, however, want to be guilty of throwing cold water on student fire. But it seems the protests happened in the wrong locale and toward the wrong leaders.

Sit-ins on campuses are nice, good theater. But if you want to know who is really hurting Southern University, it's Gov. Bobby Jindal.

At the end of the day, Southern University is facing insolvency. Reinstating Llorens for another year won't change that in the least.

One of Gov. Jindal's floor leaders in the House, Rep. Steve Carter from Baton Rouge, expressed fake frustration in The Advocate: “We have to find a governor that prioritizes higher education. The governor is the key … we have an opportunity as a group to make sure the candidates who run for governor list higher education as a top priority.”

Carter has been like a rose tattoo on Gov. Jindal's posterior.
But he wants everyone to forget his solidarity with the Jindal regime. This shows that things are starting to heat up in legislative districts, and some representatives are dreaming of voters with short memories when it comes to the devastating cuts to higher education.

Let me clear: The vast majority of Louisiana Republicans in and out of politics would be happy to see Southern University and all other HBCUs closed. This sentiment is embodied in Gov. Bobby Jindal, the public face of the GOP in Louisiana.

I'm no fan of System President Ronald Mason or James Llorens. As longtime Southern professor Sudhir Trivedi wrote recently, “He [Llorens] has been the most incompetent chancellor we have ever had. This is evident from the probation imposed upon us by SACS in December 2012 and the censure imposed upon us by AAUP in June 2013.”

The big problem for Southern University is at the State Capitol. That's where the nonviolent action needs to take place. That's where the real problems can be solved.

The sit-ins need to be at Jindal's office, fourth floor, Louisiana State Capitol. He's never there, but he'll get the message from his lackeys. The rest of the state and nation will, too.

Keep standing up by sitting down, but make sure you are a few miles south of Scott's Bluff when you protest. 

Dayne Sherman resides in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. He covers the South like kudzu and promises that he never burned Atlanta. He is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website is

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