By Robert Mann
Perhaps nothing symbolizes the deplorable state of Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana more than the decay that’s occurred on the state’s college campuses.
The recent spate of stories about the funding crisis at Grambling State University featured photographs of buildings around campus that have fallen into disrepair. I’ve been on the Grambling dozens of times, but haven’t visited there in at least ten years. I was shocked by what I saw in the New York Times, for example. The campus appears to resemble something one might find in Haiti or some other third-world country.
But this decay isn’t limited to one of the state’s historically black universities in a small north Louisiana town. It’s happening right on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
In late October, I wrote about the deplorable state of LSU’s Department of Geography and Anthropology’s Cartographic Information Center. “There, you will see blue tarps draping much of the center’s collection of rare maps, protecting them from the water that sometimes pours into the building because of the building’s leaky roof.”
Now, comes the latest evidence of LSU’s decline.
In a front-page story, Wednesday’s LSU Daily Reveille reports:
For nearly a decade and a half, the College of Art and Design has been waiting to receive construction funding, but on Saturday in the ceramics studio, the college’s students’ and faculty’s greatest nightmare was realized when a concrete panel fell from the ceiling, shutting down the studio indefinitely.
While no one was injured, students agreed had it not been the Thanksgiving holiday, someone could have been hurt. They said there is no time when that building isn’t occupied, and the spot where the concrete panel fell is the area with the most traffic.
“The ceiling tile actually hit the sink on the way down, so if someone would have been standing there, they would’ve gotten hit,” said Molly Gleason, ceramics and sculpture junior. “That sink gets used probably the most every single day because it’s the only one big enough for our buckets.” . . .
Associate art professor Mickey Walsh said this incident is deteriorating the overall morale of students and faculty.
“I think we all feel really defeated by what’s going on,” Walsh said. “We find ourselves in a chronically difficult position because we value what we do, we have great students, we have a lot of momentum, we have a good program and we just don’t get supported.”
Walsh said she and others are starting to feel a sense of brokenness and abuse and as if there is nothing anyone can do to fix the problem.
Read out of context, this might be a story about scarce state resources. Tough times call for tough choices, right?
Back in October, Jindal and the legislature easily found $2 million to fund a library in remote Franklin, Louisiana, to house the papers of Jindal’s mentor and political patron, former Gov. Mike Foster.
Apparently, creating a library for Foster in a remote area of the state is a higher priority than keeping the ceilings at LSU from falling in.
Jindal and the legislature can talk all they want about how much they value educating our children. But if you really want to know what they think about it, look at where they’re spending our money.
- A Tale of Three Libraries: Bobby Jindal’s misplaced priorities (bobmannblog.com)
- Grambling University football players deserve applause for not playing (thegrio.com)
- Trashing the campus: In Louisiana, academics takes a back seat to football (bobmannblog.com)