As published in today's Advocate:
2theadvocate.com | Opinion | Letter: La. universities’ value analyzed — Baton Rouge, LA
I believe that the statistics presented in Chancellor Wharton's letter are demonstrative of the fact that LSU is concerned about LSU--the students be damned. As evidenced by the fact that they are A) more interested in maintaining their "Research I" designation, B) recent budget-cutting focused on elimination of instructional delivery staff and C) their go-forward plan with construction of new facilities focuses more on research, rather than classroom space--it's pretty evident that the "powers-that-be" at LSU WANT undergraduate enrollment for the sake of boosting numbers for the purposes of funding, rather than delivering a product that the State of Louisiana needs.
We complain, in Louisiana about "brain drain" and our inability to attract business and industry which require an educated workforce. Simultaneously, LSU alums are more interested in how the football season is going to shape up, than the graduation rates for entering freshmen classes. Quite obviously, our priorities are NOT aligned with our wants.
LSU OBVIOUSLY has their priorities aligned with their wants--if you're job is to educate and your budget is cut, common sense dictates that you do away with functions not directly related to instructional delivery. But not if your priority is to maintain the status quo. LSU went about chopping positions related to turning out an educated commodity--NOT cutting the countless numbers of useless administrative assistants, program directors and other civil service functionaries who do nothing but take up parking spaces. Why--because they want to have a basis for keeping their funding levels up...
My thinking on LSU is not popular from an alumni standard, but admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward solving it. If those of us who have chosen to remain in Louisiana, post-graduation, don't start raising hell about this, it's not going to get fixed.