From The Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Higher education leaders in Mississippi say there is little support for a merger of the state's three historically black universities. Gov. Haley Barbour proposed merging the three historically black universities, as well as folding Mississippi University for Women into Mississippi State University, to save money.

DECEMBER 2009...from The Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's proposal to merge three historically black universities has sparked debate over the racial undertones it presents and raised further questions over the state's historic underfunding of those colleges. U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to rectify inequalities between Mississippi's institutions based on race, says Barbour's proposal goes against everything the state has been trying to accomplish. It's unclear if the merger would even be legal under the settlement of the desegregation lawsuit, which contended that the state, through its funding process, discriminated against Alcorn State, Jackson State and Valley State.

NOVEMBER 2009...from The Jackson Clarion-Ledger: University leaders in Mississippi say they worry that talk of mergers will hinder their ability to recruit students and raise money during a time when both are needed. Gov. Haley Barbour has proposed a merger of Mississippi Valley and Alcorn State universities into Jackson State University, as well as Mississippi University for Women into Mississippi State. Earlier...from The Biloxi Sun-Herald: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has unveiled a budget that includes sweeping reorganization of state government, including proposals to merge eight universities into five and reduce the number of school districts by a third. The plan seeks to merge Mississippi University for Women into the larger Mississippi State University and to consolidate the three historically black universities: Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University would become part of the larger Jackson State University. The proposal to reduce the number of school districts from 152 to 100 would have to be approved by lawmakers and the state Board of Education.