A Message from the President

Over the last few months as I have communicated with the campus community about budget and legislative matters, I have repeatedly stated that we had never seen the level of broad-based determination on the part of our legislators to avert further reductions in state support for higher education.

I believe this determination springs from realization of the extraordinary magnitude of budget cuts Louisiana institutions have been dealt over the last several years, an understanding of the dire circumstances we face with regard to absorbing any further reductions, and an appreciation for the importance of sustaining a viable system of higher education for the economic well-being of our community and state.

Recent weeks in the current legislative session have witnessed clear manifestations of this legislative determination. As I shared in my campus update on May 8, the House of Representatives recently approved over $600 million in revenue measures. Last week, the House adopted a state budget for next fiscal year that dedicated much of these new resources to higher education in order to avoid the potentially massive budget reductions that otherwise would occur.

I am extremely grateful to our legislators who supported these actions, despite stiff opposition from numerous special interest groups.

While these are very positive developments, we are not yet out of the woods. The proposed state budget for next fiscal year now moves to the Senate, which will deliberate the budget and related measures. There are further challenges in needing to find additional resources to address significant healthcare funding shortfalls, and time is running short, as the Session ends June 11.

Together, alongside other higher education leaders, we will encourage positive action by our legislators on these matters, and I will continue to update our campus community as developments unfold.

John L. Crain