Senators in Georgia are proposing a plan to rename and combine three existing historically Black universities. 

Georgia Senate Bill 273 will merge existing south Georgia colleges Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State Universities into a brand new institution. Community members, alumni and students held a forum Tuesday night raising their concerns about the proposed measure.

If the bill passes, the trio of universities will become part of Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University. Each school will serve as a different campus in an effort to increase interest and address other issues regarding enrollment.

WXIA reports all three schools have suffered from declining student enrollment since 2010. State Sen. Lester Jackson believes the new school will help improve the enrollment crisis and provide more resources for prospective students. 

However, there are lingering concerns. One of the major issues with the bill is that the three colleges may not be considered HBCUs in the event that it is passed. According to WALB, the schools will no longer be under the University System of Georgia. A new unnamed system will be established for them.  

“There are just some things that a child will get from an HBCU that they will not get from a non-HBCU and we need to keep it together. I mean it’s our history,” Albany State alumna Sabrina Hayes explained to NBC affiliate WALB.

The recent community forum is the third since the bill was announced. Increased pressure has forced five state senators to withdraw their support from the bill entirely. 

“I’m tired of sellout leadership. They give you a few cows and a few hogs, and then they take the whole farm. But we need to start operating with some courage and start thinking about the people that are to come,” said Hayes.

Critics want the state to improve the schools through funding, not destroy the long history of the south Georgia HBCUs. Senators are planning to reintroduce the bill beginning next year.