Six years too late, the LSU Board finally speaks up


By Robert Mann

Forgive me if I sound like the rooster who thought the sun rose because he crowed. But I wonder if Saturday’s unusual joint statement by the LSU Board of Supervisors had anything at all to do with my Friday column, which called on the next governor to demand its members’ resignations for their failure to defend the university from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s devastating budget cuts?

The LSU Board rarely issues joint statements on a Saturday, so I’m guessing its members were more than a little irked by my column and, also, got a little heat from true LSU supporters who wonder why they are so afraid to rebuke Jindal and his budget policies, which threaten the very existence of the university.

Perhaps some of their friends and colleagues started asking, What’s up? Why are you so fearful of Jindal? Isn’t the future of LSU worth more than your football tickets and scholarships?

Whatever the case, board Chair Ann Duplessis issued the following statement on behalf of her colleagues, which, strangely, is not on the LSU Board’s website (as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday).

The entire LSU Board of Supervisors stands solidly with President King Alexander, students, the entire higher education community and concerned citizens in expressing our collective anxiety and concern relative to the potentially devastating cuts facing our colleges and universities starting July 1.  On March 20, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of stopping these crippling cuts and for the autonomy to operate our institutions to the benefit of our valued students and our state (  Prior to the board’s resolution, our members met with the Governor and his staff, and individually with legislators and business leaders, in advocating for restoration of funding and in support of solutions that will ensure a stable, growing source of funding for higher education and remove the funding uncertainty and volatility experienced over the past several years.   Our efforts will continue until we get a satisfactory resolution, as anything less is simply unacceptable for the state’s flagship university.

We recognize that the national recession and changes in the state’s revenue forecast required everyone to tighten their belts and adopt efficiencies and cost-saving practices.  LSU is leaner and more nimble as a result, while still out-performing our peers on many measures.  Indeed, we have undergone more changes in the past two years than ever before, adopting recommendations made by a panel of experts with input from the LSU staff and faculty.  However, our efforts are only effective when coupled with a stable, reliable source of state support.  Without such, our performance will suffer and the value of an LSU degree will only deteriorate.

All 16 members of the Board of Supervisors representing the entire state of Louisiana are united in our call for restoration of funding and we will continue to use our collective experience and ability to access key policy makers to advance LSU’s position.  Individually, members of the LSU Board of Supervisors are not interested in seeking the media spotlight, but rather we are investing our time and energy in seeking solutions that will make a difference for LSU and its students.   President Alexander as our chosen leader is empowered to publicly advocate our collective position and he has the full faith and support of our board as he represents all of LSU in efforts to reverse these projected cuts.

Anxiety and concern??

Gents and lady, I hate to tell you this, but anxiety and concern are emotions you should have expressed six years ago, when state appropriations made up about 60 percent of the school’s budget. Today, it’s 13 percent. If Jindal’s additional budget cuts take effect, that number will plummet to 2 percent and the university will cease to exist.

Anxiety and concern is what I feel as I’m teaching my teenager daughter to drive.

The proper responses to what Jindal and the legislature are doing to LSU is fury, outrage and disgust.

As for your endorsement of Alexander, I’m certain he is profoundly gratified by your bold, courageous expression of support for his position and for your “anxiety and concern.”

If this is what passes for leadership — or dissent — in the Jindal administration, God help us all. The situation is more dire than I imagined.

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14 Responses to Six years too late, the LSU Board finally speaks up

  1. Oh perfect. Ann Duplessis, head of the lobbying group that aggressively seeks to profitize public education, represents the higher education board that has presided over the same implosion of Louisiana’s public universities.

    It makes you wonder where their priorities are.


  2. earthmother says:

    Professsor Mann – thank you for your courageous callouts of the administration’s deliberate efforts to destroy education in this state, and the dire situation that we face. Jindal, in collusion with grover norquist and a handful of like-minded destroyers, is doing his best to obliterate public education in Louisiana, from kindergarten through higher education. And make no mistake, this is deliberate, planned and perfectly executed in true Shock Doctrine fashion (create a crisis – fiscal or natural – implement drastic, unthinkable and formerly unpopular changes in fundamental policies to fix the crisis, and sit back while the people accept the drastic changes because the leaders continually tell them that’s the only way to fix the crisis they created.)

    Yesterday’s Pew Foundation report indicates that a handful of states is implementing drastic cuts to higher education, with Louisiana leading the pack.

    As you stated, the LSU board of supervisors’ pitiful stand is too little, too late. I am disgusted with their kowtowing to their master and now that the worst case scenario is upon them, they visit the pretend governor and make public statements.

    While I was not initially a supporter of LSU President F. King Alexander due to the way he was selected, I have come to respect him for his courage in speaking truth to power. As an LSU alumna, of the same discipline in which you teach, I am in full support of the idea that President Alexander has broached. If the jindal budget cuts become a reality, shut it down. Do not open for the fall semester. Keep the maintenance staff on board to keep up the physical plant and send everyone else home on indefinite furlough.

    Students are old enough to vote and to protest tuition and fees so high they are prohibitive. If they and their parents don’t like the outcome of jindal’s scheme, they can join with the alumni, the business community, the sports fans and citizens at large in screaming from the top of the state capitol that destruction of OUR educational institutions is not an option. The legislature had better stand up for the people they represent, impeach jindal now and do what it takes to rebuild our state.

    In January 2016, I believe we will see the exit of jindal from Louisiana. He is so consumed with ambition that he has sold his soul, and Louisiana is too small a microcosm to satisfy his mad, sick pursuit of power. He is not a public servant; he clearly believes we are here to serve him. His true roots are not here and he did not attend college here, so he has no loyalty to our people, our institutions and our culture. He can’t leave soon enough, but the damage he was wrought will last for generations.


  3. No academics, no student athletes. No student athletes, no Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium. Lord help Jindal if this happens. He will need secret service protection for sure.


  4. You should look at what’s happening in Mississippi – you know, the state that’s 50th in everything. The corporate powers on the College Board fired Dr Dan Jones, Chancellor of Ole Miss, which includes the Medical School (UMMC). The outcry has been almost unanimous. It’s just amazing. Mississippi has finally had too much. Much of the organizing was done by the students, but the faculty and staff unanimously asked for his reinstatement, as did the Alumni Association, the Black Students Association, the LGBTQ association, the Democratic AND Republican student associations, the Athletic Director and football coach, and some very powerful donors and alumni. They had a protest Wednesday which was the largest gathering ever on the Ole Miss campus, except for athletic events. Another one is planned in Jackson tomorrow, so the medical students and Jackson alumni can participate. It’s not over yet, but I think it’s going to work. I NEVER though people in Mississippi would revolt like this, but they did.

    I’m an LSU alum (my children were the 5th generation to graduate from LSU) and I am totally appalled at what has happened to Louisiana. Maybe you could motivate LSU students by telling them that Ole Miss is beating their ass on this.


  5. Gill Gautreau says:

    “…doesn’t rarely …”


    “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values, because you don’t.” Jimmy Carter



    • Robert Mann says:

      Yeah, I caught that within 10 minute after posting. I need an editor for my blog! Please don’t hesitate to let me know when you see mistakes. I do my best, but mistakes do creep in.


  6. Fredster says:

    “We recognize that the national recession..”

    Did Ann Duplessis really say that? For that alone she ought to be removed from the board.


  7. Patrick Robinson says:

    It appears to me the Privatization of our state’s universities is pretty close to a done deal. Having dropped state appropriations from 60% to 13% means LSU is in essence, 87% privatized. If Jindal’s proposed budget goes through, LSU will be 98% privatized. Add to that, the push for allowing Public Universities to increase tuitions without Legislative input and you essentially have privatized all of our universities. If you are in favor of Privatization, fine, but what about the fact that the governor would still personally select the universities’ board members as a way to reward his political supporters. If we go the Privatization Route, then let’s go ALL the way and let each university select their own board members!


  8. Jim Mayer says:

    Look a Paula Pennington hamstringing the board and facility jim

    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Michael Wade says:

    It is interesting that this group, claiming that they are “representing the entire state of Louisiana,” are only interested in restoring funding at LSU. The cumulative enrollment in Louisiana’s state university system considerably exceeds that of LSU and its outposts, if I am not mistaken. Will the cuts at these institutions have no impact on the collective wisdom and attractiveness of the state as it faces mounting disasters brought on by years, indeed decades, of government by ciphers and advocates of white collar vocationalism? Limited vision, secretive searches for leadership, and business as usual hardly constitute a prescription for what ails Louisiana higher education. It is worth remembering that LSU’s emergence as a reputable university really began in 1938 when, due to the Louisiana Scandals, Paul Hebert became LSU’s Acting President and there followed a through housecleaning on the LSU Board of Supervisors. It is time for Piyush, his administrative toadies, and the Board to go.


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