Mid-year budget cuts at Southeastern to result in reduction of staff, courses and other services
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – A mid-year $3.57 million budget cut at Southeastern Louisiana University will result in the elimination of 35 positions from the university’s operating budget as well as other reductions in acquisitions and services, university officials reported Friday (Jan. 8).
Southeastern President John L. Crain said the 35 positions being eliminated will result in the termination of 24 currently employed individuals with others being reassigned to positions supported by non-operating funds, such as Auxiliary Services and University Development funds.
The terminations represent reductions in instructional and student support personnel, cutbacks in institutional support activities that help generate external funds and recruit students, and community outreach programs that support economic development and professional development in area school systems.
Crain said the cut will impact academic areas as well, causing the reduction or reassignment of more than 40 courses taught by part-time faculty. Courses will be eliminated, consolidated or reassigned to full-time faculty.
“This causes concern for a number of reasons,” he explained, “including possible non-compliance with accreditation standards in some areas, loss of revenue from eliminated courses which will further exacerbate the budget challenge, and a reduction of course availability that will impact students.”
Other significant implications of the budget cut include: reduction in funds for athletics and library acquisitions; elimination of funds for equipment acquisitions, travel and professional development for faculty; as well as continued postponement of repairs and maintenance to the campus infrastructure. Many of these areas were drastically reduced during prior budget cuts, and in many instances have now been eliminated.
“We are fully aware of the state’s indications that higher education is facing even deeper cuts in the future,” Crain said. “From this point forward, additional cuts will involve the elimination of entire programs and other decisions that will significantly shrink the operational footprint of the institution and the benefits we are able to provide to the communities and citizens of Southeast Louisiana. These changes would almost certainly involve the elimination of programs, including academic programs, and the termination of some tenured faculty. Despite the challenges we have dealt with and may still face, we remain absolutely committed to the success of our students and the ongoing viability of the university, albeit in what may be a smaller scope and scale.”
Compared with the beginning of the fiscal year in July 2008, Southeastern has absorbed nearly $14 million in reductions in state support. To date the cumulative impact of the cuts has meant the elimination of 99 faculty and staff positions, the termination of 43 employees, faculty and staff furloughs, and significant reductions or elimination of funds for equipment and library acquisitions, travel, supplies, maintenance and repairs, as well as athletics.