LSU President says to faculty, staff: ‘We remain optimistic that changes are being sought to protect higher education’

LSU President F. King Alexander is telling faculty and staff to remain positive and continue their service to students, as the university faces potential operating budget cuts of more than 40 percent for next school year. Under the current state budget proposal for next year, anywhere from $300 million to $400 million may have to be cut from higher education institutions to help fill a projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall in the coming year. Alexander has said, under the current budget proposal, LSU could see state funding drop from $107 million to $55 million, causing hiring freezes, firing faculty, closing programs and halting research.

Alexander, in a message to faculty and staff Thursday morning, said the administration is doing all it can to find mitigations and solutions to the looming cuts.

Alexander sent the following:

In the weeks ahead, we will continue to hear many scenarios discussed about impending state budget reductions. While we remain extremely concerned about any proposed reductions to higher education, we know the Governor and our legislators understand the severe implications of what is being proposed, and they recognize the tremendous value higher education brings to our state. We will continue to convey these messages as we work with them daily on this very important issue.

The Governor’s proposed budget will not be announced until February 27, but we must prepare now on a number of fronts. For that reason, our campuses have been asked to develop scenarios based on what is currently being discussed, which is a $384 million hit to higher education across the state. We expect the media to begin reporting information from these scenarios in the coming days, but the real impact of any state funding reductions may not be known until June.

Unquestionably, LSU’s voice is loud and strong. Our vast network of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends is making its collective voice heard throughout Louisiana on this critical issue. Our senior administrative team is working proactively to identify possible mitigations and solutions, and we remain optimistic that changes are being sought to protect higher education.

Information discussed publicly about this issue is difficult to hear, and it feels quite personal to all of us, but I ask you to remain positive and continue the great work you do in service to our students as they are the reason we are here.

We are creating a budget website to keep you abreast of new developments during the process this spring. We will send you the URL once it is complete, and we will continue to update you as things progress.

Thank you for all you do for LSU.