BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Should Alabama give $37.5 million to save Birmingham-Southern College? That was the subject of a town hall at Parker High School Tuesday night.
Birmingham-Southern sits in the district of state Rep. Juandalynn Givan. The town hall was an opportunity to hear from those who this decision will impact the most.
Givan asked for feedback, and she got plenty of it. A large group of students, faculty and graduates turned out to highlight the positive contribution the college has made in the community.
One supporter of BSC stood before the auditorium and said, “There’s some great reasons to save the school. It’s not just about the kids, it’s not just about the education.” He was followed to the front of the auditorium by a man who identified himself as a father of a BSC basketball player.
“What we are doing is trying to close a higher education school. What does that tell our young people? What does that tell the people in the community? What does that tell our children, that education is not that important? Is that what we are saying here?”
But the town hall meeting was not without voices who believed spending tens of millions of dollars to bail out BSC was a bad idea. A woman who identified herself as being from a neighborhood that borders BSC said, “I don’t want this state to give our children and our city schools none of that funding. I don’t want our city to give none of our cities funding to this school.”
Another woman took the man and agreed that providing financial aid to Birmingham Southern was a bad idea.
“I do not appreciate my tax dollars going to Birmingham Southern unless they want to come under the state,” she said.
Givan and other leaders saw this as an opportunity to hear from the community before coming to a decision. This town hall highlighted the flash points of the decision day that looms.
“They just see this as a private institution,” Givan said. “They have seen other private institutions to close here in the state of Alabama and that is a problem.”
Those at Birmingham-Southern hope to hear in the next few weeks on whether the state will step in to bail the school out of financial trouble.