LSU Faculty Senate Publications

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Message from the President: For the last several months, members of the extended LSU community have hopped from big issue to big issue, from hope to fear to anxiety, and on to occasional relief. Although the very big issue of the higher education budget will occupy us for months to come, it is important to remember the many smaller items that support or otherwise accumulate into the gigantic challenges that we face today. So it is that, in the wake of the Louisiana Postsecondary Review Council, with its disappointing recommendation that all four year institutions capitulate to a single “superboard,” both educators and administrators will want to do their level best to keep the governance of educational institutions within the sphere of influence of“the little people”: those teachers, professors and researchers who, day in and day out, carry the bricks and mix the mortar by way of building the temple of education. The proposed“superboard”will take educational policy farther away from the academic personnel who implement it and so merits resistance. Viewers of The Ten Commandments know that the making of big bricks requires little bits of straw. Educators who anticipate building a better future should occasionally look past crises to recognize the importance of fine points and telling details. Two recent small scale events merit consideration as we try to imagine what our beleaguered University will be doing after the recession passes. Although it drew only passing interest when it grazed the edges of the newspapers, Chancellor Martin’s recent suggestion that budget shortfalls might be overcome by impounding funds for construction of the band hall deserves special praise. Proposing that construction delay irritated an assortment of our Supervisors, who seem to have missed the adverse symbolic value of building an enrichment support facility while faculty face layoffs. Although we all adore the Tiger Band, we require employment to buy tickets to hear it, a small and simple fact that Chancellor Martin affirmed against considerable opposition. Another detail that has become so small as to reach invisibility is the fate of the micro-brewery and mini-pub that the Chancellor proposed for the Lod Cook Hotel and Conference Center. The Faculty Senate has been long committed to improving the quality of life on the LSU campus, as well as to providing non-academic recreational options by way of raising the level of collegiality and creating a sense of mutual proprietorship over our collective destiny. Rumor, which provides more truth than is commonly acknowledged, reports that the micro-brewery was scuttled under political pressure from pietistic elements among legislators from the northern part of our state. If indeed the mini-pub expired under leveraging from the Elmer Gantry wing of our government, we have yet another demonstration that apparent trivialities, such as whether The Chimes will have an able competitor, can at least epitomize the impairment of our academically enabled freedom to choose. Let us hope that Chancellor Martin, like the namesake of the famous English cider, can keep pecking away at certain blockheads! Please enjoy this issue of the newsletter, which includes information about some very serious issues that affect us all. With all good wishes, Kevin L. Cope, Faculty Senate President