Savannah State, Georgia Southern Shared Programs Show the Next Phase of SSU’s Extinction

Almost two years ago to the day, University System of Georgia officials announced plans to consolidate Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University in what was then billed as a cost-saving, enrollment boosting effort to save Georgia taxpayers money.

The move was a clear and present threat to Savannah State University then, and it is now an institutional homicide in progress against the historically black campus. SSU is now working with its new neighbor to offer degree pathways that physically take students away from the Savannah State campus, and gives Georgia Southern more degree granting opportunities.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Savannah State will offer a Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree at Georgia Southern’s Liberty campus in Hinesville in January, said Michael Laney, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Savannah State. Savannah State has developed a niche program leading to a bachelor’s degree in homeland security and emergency management.

A Savannah State certificate program in Virtual Forensic Science is scheduled to start next fall at Georgia Southern’s Liberty campus. Other GSU-SSU partnership programs will be offered in the future, with some originating from Georgia Southern and being offered to Savannah State students.

Ann Meyer – Savannah Morning News

Why is Savannah State offering a certificate program on the Georgia Southern campus? Why not offer the program on its own campus, specifically leading to its own bachelor’s degree instead of the GSU degree?

The partnership is designed to lower the barriers for students and “create pathways” from one school to the next. A student who completes the Virtual Forensic Science certificate from Savannah State at Georgia Southern’s Liberty campus might continue on for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or biology at Georgia Southern.

Ann Meyer – Savannah Morning News

But here’s the real kicker – the wack justification for why this is a mutually beneficial program for SSU and GSU coming from Savannah State’s provost Michael Laney.

“The objective is to make it as easy as possible for the student,” Laney said. “At Savannah State, we know there are about 5,000 students who have passed through our institution who did not complete their degree because they ran out of money or life happens and they didn’t complete their degree,” he said. “We’re trying to reach out to these 5,000 students and find out, OK, you didn’t finish your degree, how can we help you get your degree done? What courses do you need?”

Michael Laney, Savannah State University Provost (Savannah Morning News)

The article goes on to outline other programs where Savannah State students can begin at SSU but earn degrees at other Georgia public institutions, or where students from those predominantly white institutions can transfer into Savannah State for degrees. One example provided by Dr. Laney – transferring out of a PWI engineering degree into an SSU engineering technology degree.

Aside from the nearly $10,000 difference in entry-level salary and minuscule transfer potential from a school like Georgia Tech to SSU, the larger issue is why Savannah State officials are advocating to lose more students than the 17 percent loss over the last two years?

For a state which avoided consolidating SSU with Armstrong State in the same vein as its Albany State University model, this version of knocking a black college off the map with shared programs and student redirection is among the most nefarious, and possibly illegal forms of HBCU discrimination going today.

The new year is shaping up to look like the last two years in Georgia, and that’s a terrible sign for the state and for the HBCU sector at large.

Cue Kendrick. (Audio NSFW)