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Mason: Southern can't survive proposed cuts

1 year 11 months 4 days ago February 13, 2015 Feb 13, 2015 Friday, February 13 2015 February 13, 2015 5:49 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Russell Jones, Mark Armstrong

BATON ROUGE - Southern University's system president said proposed cuts to their budget could break the SU System next year.

Dr. Ronald Mason said Friday the Baton Rouge campus was already working on plans for a projected $8 million in cuts in next year's budget, only to find out they may now have to shoulder an additional $13 million to $15 million in reductions next year.

The Jindal administration's proposed budget for next year includes as much as $383 million in higher education cuts. Southern's share of the budget would drop from the current $51 million in revenue they're receiving to $17 million for the entire system.

Mason called the situation "un-plannable," and said Southern can't possibly survive as people know it with these levels of cuts. "It would have to be a totally different deal about what we are and what we do," said Mason.

The proposed cuts would mean reducing faculty across the system from 500 to 300, that would be a total loss of 400 faculty members since 2008. The cuts would mean SU would recieve 20 percent of its funding from the state, in the past it recieved as much as 70 percent.

Mason says SU is engaged in the important work educating poor Africn-Americans. "It's not an option for Southern to not to be here, and I think everyone understatnds that," said Mason.

The university Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet in one week to consider combining the positions of system president and main campus chancellor. "We're doing everything we cand do," said Mason, "and we've done everything we can do, to make the system as efficient as possible."

Mason says the system intends to work with the state legislature in the coming session to avoid the cuts.

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