Louisiana Higher Ed: UNO students reject football fee, Southern to memorialize 1972 tragedy

Your weekly update on the higher education news that didn’t make the front page 

By: - November 11, 2022 3:24 pm
University of New Orleans

UNO students rejected a $300 per semester fee increase for athletics (Photo by Julie O'Donoghue/Illuminator)

The Louisiana Illuminator takes a weekly look at news from universities and colleges around the state. Have a tip or want to submit a Louisiana Higher Ed news item? Contact [email protected].

Students reject football fee 

University of New Orleans students overwhelmingly rejected a fee increase of $300 per semester to support new athletic programs at the university, including a football team.  

In the largest turnout in over a decade, 69% of the 1,468 students who voted rejected the increase. The measure was voted on by request of the student government. 

In addition to football, the fee would have supported a marching band and women’s teams in golf and soccer at the university. 

Tim Duncan, head of athletics for the university, was optimistic before the election and had spent time educating students about benefits of the plan, according to The Times-Picayune

After the election, Duncan said in a press release he still anticipates the university will eventually get a football team. 

“The students have spoken,” Duncan said. “Over two-thirds of the students who voted did not believe that they should assist in funding the start of a football team and other programs designed to improve the student experience and boost campus enrollment.” 

Tragedy remembered

Southern University will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of two students during a 1972 protest with a series of events. 

The two students, Denver Smith and Leonard Brown, were killed Nov. 16, 1972, during a protest over university conditions. Investigations determined a police officer fired the fatal shots but exactly who pulled the trigger was never identified.

The commemorative events include an archival exhibit on the two students, a panel with relatives of Brown and Smith, and the viewing of a cold case documentary on the killings. 

Federal equity funds

Two programs at LSU will receive more than $6 million from the U.S. Department of Education over the next five years to provide equity in higher education. 

The funds will go to two of the school’s TRIO programs that provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Upward Bound director Stephanie Givens and Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars Program Director Joseph Givens, a husband and wife duo, authored the grant proposal together.

The grant will be used to help improve outcomes in higher education enrollment, retention and graduation of first-generation college students with financial need. 

The Upward Bound Program, started in 2012, works with local high school students to prepare them for college. The McNair Scholars program helps students from underrepresented backgrounds get ready for doctoral programs. 

More than 3,000 TRIO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants each year, according to the most recent data. TRIO projects are in every state and territory in the nation. 

Other schools in the state have Upward Bound programs and four other schools —Dillard University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana — also have McNair programs. 

LSU is home to three TRIO projects, including Student Support Services. The three programs have worked with over 13,000 participants since 1978.

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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.

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