LSU Chancellor Mike Martin on Higher Ed Budget Cuts: “At stake is the very future of our state”

To: LSU Faculty, Staff and Students

From: Mike Martin

Re: Budget Update

Date: May 21, 2012

You have likely seen recent news reports about developments in the Legislature and potentially devastating cuts to higher education. Please allow me to update you on where things stand at this time.

The state faces a severe financial deficit and the governor submitted a proposed budget that would fill most of that hole. The House, however, passed a budget that cut over $200 million from higher education including stripping out one-time funds of approximately $134 million, leaving a crippling deficit in place.

Frankly speaking, without the one-time funds to fill the deficit, we face dire straits at LSU. Despite the fact that LSU leads the state in virtually every performance measure, we still face significant damage from underfunding. We must contemplate the elimination of entire units, the loss of faculty and staff, and cuts that could set this university back by decades. Without a solution, LSU may not recover for a generation or longer.

The budget has now shifted to the Senate, where we must hope the one-time funds will be reinstated or some other resolution develops. The budget is far from final and during this week there could be more amendments. There is much more to be done and more debates to be had. Hopefully responsible leaders will find ways to avoid further damage to Louisiana’s flagship university.

Please understand that, even with the replacement of the one-time funds, we are facing cuts to programs and personnel losses. These are great challenges to our core mission.

To be clear, at stake is the very future of our state. The young people we educate in our classrooms and the research we conduct in our labs are our hope for Louisiana.

Stay tuned. I am sorry I do not have better news today, but I have always promised to level with you on these issues.

We will continue to do everything we can to make our case for the funding that we need to remain a first class university. I will keep you informed as news develops.

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