Last November, the board of regents of the University System of Georgia approved the merger of Darton State College with historically Black Albany State University. Darton State College enrolled about 5,600 students, mostly in two-year, associate’s degree programs. Blacks made up 45 percent of the student body. Arthur Dunning, interim president of Albany State University, was selected as president of the new merged institution.
Now the new merged university has issued a new mission statement:
“Albany State University, a proud member institution of the University System of Georgia, elevates its community and region by offering a broad array of graduate, baccalaureate, associate, and certificate programs at its main campuses in Albany as well as at strategically placed branch sites and online. Committed to excellence in teaching and learning, the University prepares students to be effective contributors to a globally diverse society, where knowledge and technology create opportunities for personal and professional success. ASU respects and builds on the historical roots of its institutional predecessors with its commitment to access and a strong liberal arts heritage that respects diversity in all its forms and gives all students the foundation they need to succeed. Through creative scholarship, research, and public service, the University’s faculty, staff, students, and administrators form strategic alliances internally and externally to promote community and economic development, resulting in an improved quality of life for the citizens of southwest Georgia and beyond.”
After the board of trustees unanimously adopted the new mission statement, students at Albany State held a silent protest on campus. Students, dressed all in black, stood up and walked out of an Honors Day award ceremony. They objected to the fact that there was no mention of Albany State’s status as a historically Black university in the mission statement.