BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The President of Southern University has written an open letter with reaction to Gov. John Bel Edwards proposed potential $1 billion cut to Louisiana's higher education budget and is encouraging supporters to write Louisiana legislators.
President-Chancellor Dr. Ray Belton wrote an open letter to supporters of Southern University in anticipation of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposed cuts to the state budget to avoid a $1 billion fiscal cliff. Edwards has said cuts to higher education, including TOPS, and healthcare would be the first on the chopping block.
A cut to higher education will likely lead to cuts in funding in all public colleges and universities in Louisiana.
Belton says although these institutions, including the five in the Southern University System, have survived more than $800 millions of cuts over the past decade, budget cuts at this time could "erode" much of the recent progress they have made in academics and contributions to the state.
In the letter, which can be viewed below in its entirety, Belton urges the state Legislature to consider the university's students, communities and the overall picture of what higher education and Southern University, in particular, bring to the state. He highlighted the economic impact of the university's faculty and staff, students, and alumni.
"Summarily, if Southern loses, our state loses," Belton wrote.
Belton said it is critical decisions being made on the upcoming fiscal year be made as soon as possible so that families and administrators can make appropriate plans. "This not only includes academic plans, and livelihoods but also efficient and effective operations," Belton wrote.
In a separate email, the university highlighted areas that may be directly affected deeply by budget cuts including enrollment, job readiness, academic offerings, and athletics.
Belton encouraged supporters of the university to write to their local legislative representatives and voice their support for Southern University.
Belton's open letter:
Letter included to Southern University supporters to write to their local legislative representative: