University plan may be illegal under Ayers

Second District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to rectify inequalities between Mississippi’s institutions based on race, said Barbour’s proposal goes against everything the state has been trying to accomplish since agreeing to the Ayers settlement.

“In the eyes of a lot of Americans it appears that the black colleges are being attacked once more,” he said.

Barbour has proposed combining Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State universities into Jackson State University. He made the merger recommendation last week as part of his budget proposal for fiscal 2011, but he acknowledges that savings would not be realized for at least another year.