ULM protects academics in latest budget crunch

ULM Hawkeye

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Budget cuts have become a way of life for colleges in Louisiana, as each year seems to bring with it new challenges and less money. In this crucial time for higher education in the state, the administrations who are able to keep their faculty and students as top priorities are the ones who will best lead their schools through the crisis.

The ULM administration seems to have taken the same “students first” approach this newspaper advocates. Breaking down the cuts shows most of the $1.8 million ULM lost was absorbed by cuts to various administration accounts. University leadership should be commended for handling the cuts in this way.

Absorbing such a substantial amount of money in an alreadystrapped budget is certainly not easy. Sacrificing yourself rather than your followers shows good leadership. Looking around the state, not all of our peers were so lucky.

Louisiana Tech cut salaries and benefits for their faculty. It also cut scholarships for its students.

ULL cut $1 million from its library, research equipment and academic services. Another $1 million cut went to their athletics program, and still another $1 million was cut from their economic and workforce development.

Southeastern eliminated student worker positions and cut its library.

Considering what happened to other schools in the UL System, ULM came out really well. Of course, it just as easily could have been cut in the same way, but the administration decided to cut itself.

It’s a good thing they took that direction for the health of the University. In the past three years, ULM has lost 190 jobs. If that many jobs had been lost at somewhere like CenturyLink, there would be an outcry because of the economic loss to the community. For whatever reason, lost jobs in education have become acceptable in this state.

In order to reach the people the University is hoping to reach with its new marketing campaign, their target audience will need to understand that ULM puts its students first. No one will be willing to support a university that slights its students and teachers.

If the University hopes to be successful as an institution and as a fundraiser, it must always strive to keep intact the learning environment. Faculty need the resources to teach, and students need the opportunity to learn. As long as the administration continues to hold to those same beliefs, ULM will thrive.