Budget cuts force LSU to eliminate two programs

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Cuts to higher education by Louisiana officials is forcing LSU to eliminate entire programs. Program directors say comparative literature and food science are the first two LSU programs to be eliminated.

Both have very few students because they are so labor intensive. Astrid Merget, LSU vice chancellor, and Adelaide Russo, the director of comparative literature, are asking the Louisiana Board of Regents not to cut the programs. Board members voted Wednesday to eliminate both.

"It undermines the quality of the faculty who are committed to LSU," Russo said.

The programs were not eliminated because they are not important, but because board members say the legislature and governor forced them to make cuts.

"This is probably the tip of the iceberg and something had to happen somewhere," said Ronald Toups, board of regents chairman. "Something has to start somewhere."

Russo is asking the public to join the fight to protect the state's future through higher education. She says the fight for her comparative literature program is about more than the graduate students who are a part of the program. Russo says the impact could trickle down to the undergraduates.

"It's the first victim in what I think is going to be the death of humanities and this is not good," Russo added. "We could not teach the numbers of units in English, German, Russian if we didn't have teaching assistants."

Russo and Merget plan to appeal the decision by the board of regents. According to board members, if the pair can prove the cost effectiveness of the programs, then they may reconsider.

Copyright 2010 WAFB. All rights reserved.