Grambling State: GOP Austerity Funding Hurts an HBCU

In light of the controversy surrounding Grambling State football players' protests over school conditions, Brittney Cooper explores at Salon how massive Republican-driven budget cuts have endangered the welfare of this and other HBCUs.

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Grambling State Tigers vs. Washington State Cougars in 2005 (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the controversy surrounding Grambling State football players’ protests over school conditions, Brittney Cooper explores at Salon how massive Republican-driven budget cuts have endangered the welfare of this Louisiana school and other HBCUs.

I grew up down the road from Grambling, and learned my appreciation for black college football and band culture, over the course of many homecomings spent on the campus. As a high school student taking classes during a summer pre-college program, I passed the legendary Coach Eddie Robinson on campus. When it was time to go to college, Grambling was the first school to offer me a full scholarship. 

I chose to go elsewhere, but tellingly, I chose an HBCU -- Howard University. Of late, Grambling and Howard have been the subject of much bad press. The unexpected resignation of Howard president Sidney Ribeau seemed to support concerns about Howard’s steady decline. Certainly, the fact that Howard, once named in the top 100 universities in the country in U.S. News and World Report, has fallen to No. 142 is cause for concern.

Coupled with reports that Louisiana state appropriations to Grambling have fallen from $31.6 million to $13.8 million since 2007, it seems that the latest victims of public austerity measures are black colleges. $31.6 million is a paltry amount of state aid, and $13.8 million constitutes a starvation budget. These massive cuts endanger the welfare of one of Louisiana’s oldest institutions of higher learning, and show the deep racial resentment that has driven GOP policies in Louisiana, particularly under Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Read Brittney Cooper's entire piece at Salon.

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