Open Letter to Higher Education Leaders: The Time for Negotiating is Over

Dear Chancellor Rallo and Presidents Alexander, Woodley, Mason and Sullivan,

I read with great interest and anticipation your joint letter to our governor this evening when it hit my inbox at work.

I appreciate that you are trying to play nice with Governor Jindal, appeal to his best interests, lead with the positives, and negotiate our way back to, if not stability, at least a reprieve from total destruction. I also appreciate that this is probably as bold as you have ever gotten with our governor. But it is still not enough.

Chancellor Rallo, maybe this worked in Texas, New York, and everywhere else you have been before now.

In fact, the rest of you were also installed in your current positions well after the horror show that is our current higher education mess was spun into action.

The bomb that is going off this year was lit when the Stelly Act was repealed. Stelly was what gave our state enough revenue to invest in higher education and healthcare. Believe me, our state’s citizens are paying more for less now than they would have if we had just funded them appropriately like we did the only year we were fully funded before Jindal took office.

The bomb was turned into a nuclear weapon with GRAD Act.

And when our institutions proved more resilient to the yearly fiscal slashings than anyone anticipated, Jindal upped the ante by giving more and more and more of our state away.

Governor Jindal is conveniently out of state because, lets face it, the mess was supposed to be on our faces, not his. I said this five years ago because I knew this was the year that it would all come to a head… when he would be a lame duck governor. He’s actually more gone than I thought he would be by this point.

Of course, none of you were in your current positions in 2009-2010 when this happened. Perhaps that is why you are being so polite. But it won’t work.

The last time I did anything like what I am doing now is when I was coming out of a cultic church that is in the same movement as the folks who brought us our governor’s recent prayer rally.  The leaders of that movement could not be trusted and literally wanted to take over the world.

Of course they weren’t really going to, and they won’t. But they damaged a lot of people and families along the way. And along with several other people a few years back, my activities online got a bunch of people free. It didn’t take down the cult but it did expose them for others to see. That’s why I’ve revived my online persona. Go ahead and Google it if you want to know who I am.

Governor Jindal is not going to become leader of the free world either. Heck, he’s not leading Louisiana. He’s destroying it.

I found out I couldn’t negotiate with the cult leaders. It doesn’t matter what the base religion is of a cult leader (it could be Islam, Christianity, or heck, no religion at all) but their blind zealotry, skewed and inflexible ideology, and above all, pride and thirst for power and control at all costs is what does all the damage. Sound familiar?

Time is out for higher education. Not just almost out, not just “if we just get a few concessions we’ll be ok” kind of out, but OUT.

We are not all going to survive this legislative session unless we in higher education all stand up and say, NO MORE. You cannot negotiate with someone who won’t and indeed maybe can’t negotiate in good faith. All that happens is that you end up giving more and more away. And more and more people get hurt. Especially the citizens of our state who desperately need what we offer them… affordable, quality, public education. Especially in our poorer urban centers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge we literally save lives. Every. Day. We save people from the streets, lives in poverty, prison, and death. Every. Day. We used to save a whole lot more of them before GRAD Act and before we were sliced and diced to the verge of oblivion.

Those are the people that Governor Jindal wants to send to for-profit schools where they can spend even more of their money that they don’t have because our state doesn’t want them using precious tax dollars to go to school here. Guess who one of our state’s biggest “out of state” competitors for first time freshmen is? University of Phoenix.

Saying in effect, “please, Governor Jindal, thanks for WISE, and by the way, don’t take it away, and we’ll be really happy if you don’t hurt us any more in the process,” isn’t going to do it.

It may be too late and we won’t all survive anyway.

But I am going to try to save everyone I can. Even though I’m just a junior administrator. Someone who works 60 hours a week but whom Bobby Jindal still characterizes as a pampered public servant leech living off the public dole. My job might be eliminated before this is all done but I’m going to go down fighting.

So what else are you going to do?

2 thoughts on “Open Letter to Higher Education Leaders: The Time for Negotiating is Over

  1. Pingback: Higher ed leaders plead with Gov. Bobby in effort to mitigate budget cuts in a way he would love for GOP to pander to him | Louisiana Voice

  2. Pingback: A Closer Look at Jindal’s Higher Education Shell Game aka Budget | LA Higher Ed Confessions

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