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Southern votes to combine chancellor, president

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BATON ROUGE - Members of the Southern University System Board of Regents voted to combine the SUBR chancellor and system president's positions into a single job Friday.

Only one board member voted against the merger, Rev. Joe Gant Jr.

The move will save the university money and is expected to put them in a better position to get more state funding when they meet with lawmakers during April's legislative session. The merger will be effective July 1, and the board will put together a search committee to find a candidate for the position.

Dr. Leon Tarver, the chairman of the board of regents, said they feel this is the best decision for the university at this point.

"It enhances our accountability but it also gives us a greater shot at efficiency of management," said Tarver.

Some people who attended the meeting didn't agree with the board's overwhelming vote for the merger, like Albert Samuels.

"Honestly I don't (agree). Obviously that view did not carry today. Because I believe that you could use many of those other things without necessarily merging the position of president and chancellor," said Samuels, who is a professor of political science at Southern.

Southern faces a possible $15 million budget cut next year, part of a proposed $383 million in cuts to higher education in Louisiana. Southern's share of the budget would drop from the current $51 million in revenue they're receiving to $17 million for the entire system.

System President Dr. Ronald Mason, whose term is up on June 30, called the budget situation "un-plannable" recently, saying Southern couldn't possibly survive as people know it now.

Tarver said a search committee for the new president/chancellor is currently being put together.



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