Four Year College Battle Heads To The High Court

A College Board lawyer is asking the state Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that's blocking expansion of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast campus. But a lawyer representing the Board of Community and Junior Colleges says the court should uphold a 29-year-old law that gives community colleges veto power over the off-campus course offerings of four-year universities.

The community college board is among 36 plaintiffs that filed suit in 1999 over the U-S-M coast expansion plan. At issue is whether USM's Long Beach campus should be allowed to offer freshman and sophomore courses. The campus already has junior and senior courses, but community college leaders worry about USM infringing on their territory.

The three justices hearing arguments today gave no indication of when they might rule.