Higher education update: campus initiative to draw attention to budget crisis

Olivia Barfield

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A day of mass emailing is being planned in response to the possible losses that Louisiana higher education and healthcare are facing in the next fiscal year.

Katherine Dawson, Coordinator of Online Programs, said the day will be a specific day for students, faculty, staff, alums and the community to contact their state legislators and ask for action to support higher education and healthcare in Louisiana.

“The tone of the event isn’t to gripe at the state legislators…we want to let as many legislators as possible know that there are voters who care about higher ed and healthcare in Louisiana,” Dawson said.

An email template will be sent out for use as a guide in emailing legislators. The day is being planned for May 2.

An estimated 30,000 Louisiana college students may lose their funding next year, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ most recent budget proposal. Under the proposal, higher education would also see a 6 percent cut, and 4 state hospitals would be closed.

The Staff Senate and Faculty Senate are sponsoring the day, and they are hoping to get Student Government involved as well.

Plans for the day are big, with hopefully thousands of emails sent to legislators.

The event is still in planning, but Mission Maroon will likely be the event name. Organizers are planning to take the campaign to social media and to encourage participants to wear maroon as well.

On May 3, the day after the event, representatives and business leaders from Northeast Louisiana will travel to Baton Rouge for Northern Exposure to meet at the State Capitol and discuss issues affecting the area.