BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU administrators are drafting a budget proposal that includes hundreds of layoffs, mass reductions to medical services, and cuts to courses.
LSU President, Dr. F King Alexander said it is a likely scenario if the state cuts $65 million from the university system's budget. It is one option the new governor is considering to fix the state's finances.
Students got the news in a letter from President Alexander. It notified students that the state is considering a $131 million reduction to higher education to help make up for the $750 million budget shortfall.
The Governor's Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne, asked the university in a memo to submit a budget reduction plan of nearly 50%. It would mean $65 million in cuts to LSU.
The Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer, said the cuts to healthcare and higher education are nearly impossible to dodge.
"It will be painful now, and I wish it was something we could avoid but I don't think it is because of the size of the numbers of the budget shortfall this year and with only less than six months to fix and it," Payer said.
Alexander told reporters during a telephone conference Friday afternoon, the cuts would cripple the university.
"These would be catastrophic cuts to faculty and to students who are counting on completing the coursework they need to graduate on time," Alexander said.
Students did not take the news lightly.
"I'm on a scholarship. After four years, I won't be able to be here anymore because I can't afford it on my own. So if I have to be here longer, I will probably have to d rop out," Jerrilyn Young said.
"That means I'm going to have to either get a job in between or stay another two semesters," Hannah Arnold said.
Deputy Chief of Staff Payer said, while the governor is not in favor of making cuts and raising taxes, the bottom line is, the state is $750 million. She added, to come up with the money by the end of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, both may be necessary.
LSU has four days to come up with a general plan of how the university would respond to the potential cuts.