Last week The Gramblinite republished a piece of commentary from HBCU Digest titled “Everybody is growing in NW Louisiana but Grambling” that was critical of Grambling State University and President Rick Gallot’s efforts to improve to conditions on campus and garner additional funding for GSU by the University of Louisiana system.
In response, Jovan Hackley, communications manager at Grambling State, said the commentary was lacking.
“It’s unfortunate when a person is someone who doesn’t know the whole story and only knows a piece of it,” Hackley said. “It’s something that is very disturbing.”
In the commentary, author JL Carter Sr. reflected on the school’s perceived deficiencies, including the state of the library and other campus facilities, and presented a case that Grambling State University is seemingly being overlooked for funding in comparison to other schools governed by the University of Louisiana Board of Regents.
Among the commentary’s claims were that Grambling is being funded to a lower degree than other campuses in the UL System, and that the nursing program is being undercut by a recent reciprocation program between Northwestern Louisiana State University, which is also in the UL system, and Louisiana Delta Community College, which has a campus only five miles away from Grambling, whereas Northwestern is 73 miles to the southwest.
As part of his argument, Carter said the GSU administration and Gallot are not doing enough to advocate for GSU.
However, according to Hackley, Carter never reached out to university about the article or asked about GSU and Gallot’s efforts.
“No one has reached out to us about the story and all that it entails,” he said.
Hackley said he feels Grambling State University is making strides along with the administration to ensure they are fighting for the right to work with the UL system to make sure Grambling is properly funded.
“Yes I do believe we are making improvements,” Hackley said. “We all together have been fighting an increase. We have a great track record that were funded in our state funding.
“For someone who is saying we are not doing enough, it’s obvious that they are not keeping up with Grambling and everything that it has accomplished.
“Grambling State University is still looking into the future of having the renovation of the new library.
“Although the date has not been set yet, there is a timeline for our new library funding at Grambling State University and it’s part of our master plan to have this issue settled sooner rather than later.”
The UL System Board of Regents did not respond to a request for comment from The Gramblinite.
In the HBCU article, Carter linked to a 2017 story by The News-Star that showed Grambling had the most deferred maintenance, meaning maintenance that needs to be done on campus but has not been funded yet, with $48.9 million.
In comparison, Louisiana Tech had $41.3 million in deferred maintenance, and Southeastern Louisiana University had $48.1 million in deferred maintenance.
However, both Southeastern and Louisiana Tech have much higher student populations at 14,308 and 12,873, respectively, in comparison to Grambling’s 4,863 students, which presents the case that Grambling has a much higher rate of deferred maintenance per capita.