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Mayor of Grambling opposes GSU’s plan to build a security fence around campus

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:56 PM CST
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GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE) - Grambling State University is moving ahead with its plans to build a security barrier around campus despite opposition from Grambling Mayor Edward Jones.

Mayor Jones told KNOE the city has had no input on the plan. GSU President Rick Gallot said they will when the time is right.

“We are way too early for anyone to object to what we are doing because there is no plan to object to,” President Gallot explained.

In December, the University of Louisiana Systems approved a request by GSU to amend its five-year capital outlay submission to include the fence.

“This is about ensuring our students, facility, and staff is safe,” said Gallot.

Jones is concerned that the city has been shut out of the process.

“We have businesses on that street,” Jones told KNOE. “If a fence is put up, that means that the traffic will be diverted, and the businesses may be closed.”

Gallot says the conversation is premature. He says the school still needs to select an architect to draft a proposal. Once that’s done, the University will gather input from the community.

“We will want all of our stakeholders, not only local government, but citizens, our local law enforcement, many of our stakeholders’ groups to be a part of it,” said Gallot. “Now is not that time.”

Mayor Jones, a 1974 graduate of GSU and a former English Professor at the school, claims building a fence is a waste of money.

“To spend 18 million dollars on a fence that could be used academically,” explained Mayor Jones.

Gallot points to GSU’s new Cyber Security and Cloud Computing programs as evidence the school is prioritizing academics. He adds it’s up to the University as to how they want to spend their money.

“I think that the mayor should stay in his lane,” Gallot told KNOE. “The city budget is what the mayor should focus on.”

Complicating the situation is a 2017 dispute which led the state legislature to turn city-owned Main Street over to GSU. Mayor Jones still disputes that decision.

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