I will begin this post by being clear that, in voicing my opinion on the proposed merger (announced Nov. 1 and scheduled for a vote tomorrow, Nov. 12) of Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University, I do not purport to represent anyone other than myself. I am Georgia citizen and scholar who cares about public education.
Last week I sent letters to Gov. Nathan Deal, State Senator Gail Davenport and State Rep. Stacey Evens (who represent my district), and Regent Larry Ellis of the Board of Regents. I encourage anyone dissatisfied by the procedural components of the proposed merger to contact state representatives to request: 1) a developed rationale for the merger, 2) data to support the rationale, and 3) a delay of the merger vote scheduled for tomorrow at 2pm. This post is intended to serve as a resource for anyone wanting to voice these concerns. I have included links at the bottom to facilitate locating your representatives.
Here is the text of my letter, which I adapted depending on the addressee:
As a voter in the district that you represent , I request a review and a public explanation of the Board of Regents’ decision to merge Kennesaw State University and SPSU, announced on November 1, 2013. Please move to delay approval of the merger at the Nov. 12, 2013, Board of Regents’ meeting, until more explanation, data, and public response has been gathered to determine whether the merger is in the best interests of the academic communities of both KSU and SPSU.
The announcement and its proximity to the vote for its approval is not a sufficient amount of time for the community at either university to process or respond to the announcement. Further, the Board of Regents’ bylaws state that anyone wishing to speak publicly at a Board meeting must request permission at least 15 days before the meeting. Given that the announcement was posted on Nov. 1 and the vote will be held Nov. 12, the timing of the announcement has potentially prevented public comment on the decision. It has also generated serious concerns about transparency that reflect a corporate attitude towards state educational policies that are not in the best interests of Georgia’s students.
I can’t know whether a prospective merger between the two schools will be in the best interests of the students, staff, and faculty of both communities because I have had neither sufficient explanation for the decision nor the time to respond to it on any substantive ground.
As a Georgia citizen whom you represent, I am respectfully asking you to delay the consolidation vote on Nov. 12 to demonstrate that the Board is open to processing public discussion and to providing the rationale and research that prove the benefits of the merger. Please feel free to contact me at the email address above should you have any questions about SPSU and its vibrant academic culture and student body.
It is best to both email and fax this kind of communication to facilitate it getting into the right hands. Here are some resources for identifying relevant individuals:
- Here is the contact page for the Board of Regents; 14 Regents represent individual voting districts in Georgia; 4 hold at-large seats. Here is where you can find their contact information.
- Here is the contact page for Hank Huckaby, Chancellor of the Board of Regents.
- Here is the contact page for Governor Nathan Deal.
- Here is where you can find out which State Senator and State Representative speak for you in Georgia.
If you’re wanting more information about the merger, dozens of articles exist online, but here is a short list of useful sources: