Georgia senate bill to merge 3 HBCUs fails, but discussion continues

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FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia State Representatives are expressing their disapproval for a senate bill that would combine some of the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Senate Bill 273 didn’t pass last week, but state senators plan to reintroduce it during the next legislative session. The new bill is Senate Bill 278.

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The bill proposes Fort Valley State University, Albany State University, and Savannah State University combine into the Georgia Agricultural University System.

Senate Bill 273 was introduced on the 39th day of the legislative session, the day before the session closed.

It caused an uproar from some representatives, including Calvin Smyre. He says he’s upset a bill of this magnitude popped up with no forewarning.



”I define it as bad legislation, and anytime I see bad legislation, I do everything I can to defeat it,” he said.

The bill calls for the combination of the universities because of low enrollment.

Representative Patty Bentley says these universities need to stand independently, and if the bill passes the senate, she will fight for the bill not to pass the house.

”If it ever makes it to the house, we’re going to pack it up, and take it over to my funeral home and bury it,” Bentley said.

The bill will be discussed by an HBCU Study Committee this summer.

It will be reintroduced during the next legislative session in January.