Proposal to merge LSU-Shreveport into Louisiana Tech begins moving in the Legislature

Interim LSU System President William L. Jenkins (left) and LSU Shreveport Chancellor Vincent J. Marsala (right) opposed legislation that would lead to the merger of LSU Shreveport and Louisiana Tech. (Photo by Richard Alan Hannon - The Advocate)

A bid to make LSU’s Shreveport campus a branch of Louisiana Tech University started advancing Tuesday in the Legislature, getting the backing of the House Education Committee.

The proposal by Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, faces a tough road to final passage, however, needing the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers to be enacted.

The merger idea faces opposition from LSU System leaders, but support from the Board of Regents that oversees public higher education across the state. Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn’t taken a position on the proposal.

LSU-Shreveport would become a second campus of Louisiana Tech and part of the University of Louisiana System. The two campuses are 70 miles apart. The House committee voted 14-4 for the bill.

Supporters said the consolidation would improve education in northwest Louisiana. The idea was suggested by a higher education consultant hired by Shreveport-Bossier City area business leaders seeking to expand educational opportunities in the state’s third largest metropolitan area, which has 400,000 residents.

“We believe that it is good for the community. We believe it is good for our region, from a business standpoint, from an economic standpoint,” said Zazell Dudley, chair of the Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce and a business leader in northwest Louisiana.