The future of Grambling State University was the topic of discussion by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System on Wednesday morning. The meeting was held in the sparsely filled School of Nursing Auditorium.The public meeting was held so that those from the community and university students could voice their opinions on the status of the university. The main stay of the meeting was to discuss the future of the current interim president, Dr. Frank Pogue.
After the welcomes and introductions were made and minutes were accepted, the real purpose for the meeting was delved into. The board gave Grambling students, faculty, alumni and community a timeline and the guidelines for finding a permanent president of the university. In addition to giving this information they also fielded comments and concerns from the 150 or so audience members. Many of the audience members all shared the same sentiment that Pogue was a commodity at Grambling.
“He came out to the election’s week parade and caught candy with my niece. What university president do you know does that?” said former Miss GSU Ahvery Thomas about Pogue.
Comments were made about former president Dr. Horace A. Judson; even the sophomore class president Jonathan Allen gave an anecdote about how there was “evil” at GSU during his first semester and how Pogue came in and was like a breath of fresh air during his second semester. Local preachers Henry Island and Julius Sumler stated how President Pogue reached out to the community by visiting all the churches in Lincoln Parish.
There were some like former GSU employee Dr. Birdex Copeland Jr., who stated they only wanted what was best for Grambling. However, there was one dissenter among the crowd who supported Michael McKinley who was fired shortly after Judson resigned. The dissident also stated that it took more than visiting churches and catching candy to keep a university up and running. There were also comments made as to Pogue’s age might be a problem but interim head baseball coach James Cooper said that he had the same problem but it was the fact that he was too young. With the parallel that he drew, he was making the point that they both could get the job done in spite of the “problem” their age posed.
Once all the comments were heard and crowd was satisfied with some answers to questions, Sibille said, “The thing that happen to know about this Board is that we listen to you. And after what we’ve heard here, we will be wise and take all comments into serious consideration and to develop a plan as to what our next move as a committee will be.”
The Board of Supervisors has some new faces as well as some old such as Elsie Buckhalter who has served almost 18 years. The committee as it stands now is made up of 12 members. It is made up of 10 former educators, politicians, and two non-voting members.
The University of Louisiana System board consists of current chairman, Winfred F. Sibille of Sunset; Brook Sebren, SGA president for the University of Louisiana at Monroe; Dr. Randy Moffett, president of the ULS; and Grambing members, Dr. Mildred Gallot, Wilbert Ellis and SGA president Lamark Hughes.
The next board meeting will be held in Baton Rouge on June 24-25.