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LSU faculty, students face off with chancellor over budget cuts

4 years ago September 28, 2010 Sep 28, 2010 Tuesday, September 28 2010 Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:25:41 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ashley Rodrigue

The financial future of LSU took center stage as the chancellor faced off with faculty and students at a forum Tuesday.

Faced with a panel of five and a room of 200, LSU Chancellor Michael Martin took on the tough financial situation facing the school one question at a time.

"Is this fee contradicting the budget cuts?" asked one student.

"What is your advice to students on how to deal with this situation," asked a student senator.

"How can the institution better position itself to capture new revenue streams?" asked a professor.

Martin's answers always included, "We have to find a way."

Some of the ways Martin said the university can make it through potentially losing more than $60 million is turning to student tuition increases for funding and converting classroom lessons into online courses.  Some faculty members suggested personal furloughs, while others suggested a personal sacrifice by Martin.

"That would be your salary," said a foreign language professor. "You could be an instant hero to the institution, to the students."

Some faculty said a union could help.

"There's a great deal of brain power in the faculty," said faculty senator Mike Russo, "and we can offer some significant help, but we have to have a seat at the table."

Students said they want to help but need to know how.

"If the university tried to get the students more motivated, realize, 'Look, this is gonna affect you,' then maybe they'll be more involved," said history freshman Elizabeth Ritchey.

Others couldn't get past the cuts that have already come to campus.

"...And who made those decisions? You, sir, you're taking responsibility for that?"  asked a foreign language professor.

"The recommendations came to me, and I adopted them," said Martin.

The chancellor promised to keep trying to find a way.

"Even during this period of significant chaos and uncertainty, we need to continue to make the case on a positive side that investing and sustaining LSU is in the best interest of every citizen in Louisiana," said Martin.

The university said the new year will give LSU a better idea about its bottom line.  Legislators have the final say on what state dollars go to the school.

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