Trashing the campus: In Louisiana, academics takes a back seat to football

Louisiana prison inmates pick up game-day trash on the Parade Ground Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, after LSU played South Carolina in Tiger Stadium. (Benjamin Oliver Hicks, LSU Daily Reveille)

Louisiana prison inmates pick up game-day trash on the Parade Ground Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, after LSU played South Carolina in Tiger Stadium. (Benjamin Oliver Hicks, LSU Daily Reveille)

By Robert Mann

It’s Sunday morning after a big football game and a hung-over LSU campus slowly stirs. From Tiger Stadium to the Law Center, a small army of young men meanders among the beige stucco buildings, dragging orange garbage bags.

The men collect the previous night’s detritus – thousands of beer bottles, plastic cups and other litter the fans carelessly tossed before leaving campus.

These young men aren’t conscientious tailgaters. They are inmates, trucked in from nearby state prisons. My family and I see them on our way to church. By late morning, as we return home, the inmates are gone, having restored the campus to its pre-game beauty.

Perhaps this exercise says something about the wisdom of giving inmates useful work.

It also suggests a certain disregard among football fans for the school and its lovely campus.

Do they consider LSU as merely a football team with an English Department?

Talk to them about the quality of LSU, and you’ll get an earful about the team’s performance, but hardly a peep about the biology department or the engineering program. Tell them that under Gov. Bobby Jindal hundreds of faculty and staff have been laid off or have fled to other schools in pursuit of pay raises or better working conditions, and you might get a blank stare.

Raise tuition to offset some of Jindal’s budget cuts and many of these fans won’t notice. Raise ticket prices, however, and hear them wail.

And it’s not just at LSU.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

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