Last week, Louisiana State University announced plans for financial exigency, the business equivalent of bankruptcy. Louisiana’s state budget cuts will cause LSU’s budget to be reduced by up to $600 million. Jobs and courses across LSU’s campus are facing extinction as a result. In the following column, Justin DiCharia, columnist at LSU’s Daily Reveille, discusses the grim future of LSU and what he plans to do to try to change that future. On Thursday, students will march on the state capitol in Baton Rouge.
The University is preparing the legal groundwork to file academic bankruptcy, and students are asleep. Continue to slumber, and the University will go silently.
By the time we wake up, it may be too late.
It’s time to be blunt and make it absolutely clear what “financial exigency” will do to an individual student’s life here, after an 82 percent cut to higher education funding.
Are you minoring in Spanish, French or any other foreign language? Good luck getting into the classes you need.
The humanities instructors will be the first administrators must cut, which means professors will have to teach all the lower level classes. There will only be one or two sections for each class, and if you can’t get into the prerequisite you need to take higher level classes — too bad.
I enjoyed an English 2000 class of about 25 students. You won’t.
A professor with hundreds of students will teach your English 2000 class, and there will not be one-on-one time to work on your writing or edit your final paper.
Engineering and business students, y’all won’t be affected right? Those programs are the gems of the University. They wouldn’t dare touch those institutions.
While you are sleeping, your schools may lose their accreditation.
In February, when the cuts were an estimated 35 percent, administrators warned the cuts would jeopardize the accreditation of the engineering and business schools. Now the cuts are likely to be 82 percent.
The teacher to student ratio, which is already high, will go up and threaten both colleges’ national competitive standing. Your degree will not mean as much as a degree from Ole Miss or the University of Alabama, and your chances of finding a job in the national marketplace will decrease exponentially.
Completing an engineering degree flow chart will take longer than expected when the class you need to move on to next semester’s engineering classes is full.
Hit the snooze button and fees will go up in an attempt to keep the University afloat. In addition, there is a bill in the legislature that caps the amount of money TOPS can give students. Likely to pass, State Sen. Jack Donahue’s bill, R-Mandeville, would allow universities across the state to raise tuition and have students pay the difference between their TOPS scholarship and tuition increases.
Out-of-state students will turn their backs on the University and go to other schools not hemorrhaging from financial chaos.
LSU President F. King Alexander announced the University’s preparation for financial exigency on Wednesday. I hope my fellow students will finally realize the irreparable damage the University is about to experience.
Classes cut. Teachers fired. Entire colleges ravaged. Students no longer enrolled at the University.
Financial exigency is the signal to the academic world that the levees are about to break. So what can we do to hold off the flood?
The signs are clear, and now it’s time to act.
Next week on Thursday, April 30th at 12:30 p.m. there will be a march on the Capitol. March with us.
After my last column, my best friend told me to “be the change you want to see in the world.” While Gandhi probably never said those words, contrary to popular belief, the message rang in my ears, and I took a stand.
I gathered around some of this campus’ most influential members and together we have organized a march to the Capitol for the sake of our future, but our efforts are futile without your help.
The University may declare bankruptcy this summer if the legislators at the Capitol fail to hear the Tigers roar. Next Thursday is your chance to prove to our state’s leaders that the Tigers will not go down without a fight.
It’s fourth down with a yard to go. Let’s make like Leonard Fournette and fight for a first down. Let’s move the chains at the State Capitol and save our University from what could be the greatest defeat in history.
Justin DiCharia is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Slidell, Louisiana. You can reach him on Twitter @JDiCharia.