Mergers in South Texas Colleges

By Elaine Davenport

Vol. 11, No. 4, 1989, p. 24

The largely Hispanic population of south Texas now has a better opportunity to get the same quality of higher education as Texans living in other parts of the state, thanks to several bills signed in May that will merge five south Texas colleges with the state's two most prestigious university systems--the University of Texas and Texas A&M [Southern Changes, July/Aug 1988].

Texas A&I in Kingsville, Corpus Christi State and Laredo State will combine with the A&M system and Pan American University's campuses at Edinburg and Brownsville will join the UT system, giving the schools access to the funds and management systems of UT and A&M and an ability to grow into full-fledged four-year schools with graduate programs.

The arrangement will expand the number of advanced degrees available in South Texas, where currently there are no accredited medical schools, law school, or health science schools and no doctoral programs except in bilingual education.

"You're going to finally see an addressing of the problem of South Texas--unemployment, a high crime rate. The more educated the masses are the more productive citizens they'll become," said Eddie Cavazos, state representative from Corpus Christi.

But another south Texas legislator, state senator Hector Uribe, says that it's much too little too late and confirmed that a pending lawsuit on the matter will go ahead.

This suit, filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, was scheduled for trial in Brownsville in September. It seeks a federal court order to make more state money available for higher education in south Texas.

Uribe says the state must spend an additional $500 million to resolve the lawsuit.