Well, although it appears the David Vitter for Governor campaign is running on three donut tires and a blowout, since his million dollar engine loudly cries OBAMAOBAMAOBAMAOBAMAOBAMA! as it screeches toward the finish in Louisiana he still has a chance despite the multiple scandals which came to a head last week.
If he wins, I will be looking for a job elsewhere. Immediately. And it’s not because he’s a hypocrite who may or may not have fathered a child with a New Orleans prostitute who wouldn’t abort said child like he may or may not have asked her to do. But because he doesn’t want to face us, talk to us, and would rather bully us. He has refused to face higher ed including our students. He only agreed to participate in a debate at LaTech because they they barred their own students from their own auditorium and sequestered the media in another room away from Babypants Vitter. But debates at Southeastern or UL Lafayette? Or a gubernatorial forum scheduled for the two run off candidates sponsored by the Board of Regents that according to Bob Mann has just been canceled? Given how non-accessible Governor Jindal (InHisDreams-IA) has been this portends something worse because at least during his gubernatorial campaign Jindal participated in debates including those hosted on college campuses. And like Vitter, he had a job in Washington (as one of our US Representatives), and unlike Vitter, didn’t use that as an excuse not to debate.
Already “Senator Liar” as Jay Dardenne’s campaign so aptly calls him has proven himself an enemy to Louisiana public higher education. I’d be able to replace Bobby Jindal’s name with David Vitter’s in my blog’s subtitle and continue chronicling our demise.
Why do I say so?
Because his policies are the same as Bobby Jindal’s.
Yeah, on his webpage he says all kinds of fluffy things like he’ll “stop death by a thousand cuts” and will “eliminat[e] the endless cycle of ‘slashing funding/raising tuition'”. But compare what Vitter says today to what Jindal said in 2007:
Vitter, 2015: Convene a Commission on Streamlining and Building Excellence in Higher Education composed of representatives of the Board of Regents, the four public higher education systems, and civic and community leaders to develop and propose specific reforms… reducing unnecessary duplication and inefficiencies in academic programs and the procurement of services.
Jindal, 2007: We must reward excellence and discourage mission creep and duplication. As head of the University of Louisiana System, I urged colleges and universities to identify areas of excellence, discourage duplicative academic programs, maximize financial resources, and promote specialized, high-quality instruction and research to students
Or, if you want a closer comparison, Vitter’s commission sounds an awful lot like the Postsecondary Education Review Commission, aka the Tucker Commission, which laid the groundwork for the hated, evil GRAD Act, as well as several failed merger and closure attempts:
Jindal, 2009: The Postsecondary Education Review Commission serves to review and improve the efficiency of the higher education system in Louisiana. The commission will review all aspects of postsecondary education in order to ensure that the enterprise is operating effectively, and in a manner that best serves students, their families, and the state.
So what’s the difference between Vitter’s commission and Jindal’s? Sounds like more of the same to me. Hmm, how many academic programs have we cut since Jindal took office? According to Inside Higher Ed, 331 programs have been shuttered, which doesn’t exactly say to me that we need to become more “streamlined” unless closing institutions will be once again on the table under Vitter’s So Totally Not Like Jindal’s Higher Ed Commission Commission.
And speaking of GRAD Act, since the six year agreements expire this year? Will Vitter allow it to die the quiet death that it so deserves?
Vitter, 2015: Fully comply with the GRAD Act so that universities that achieve their benchmarks can be sure that state government will keep its end of the bargain through proper funding and increased tuition autonomy
In order to do that, we’d need GRAD Act to be renewed and enact new agreements? This says to me that Vitter supports renewing GRAD Act. Read some of my other blog entries if you want to know where I stand on GRAD Act and why I think it was one of the worst things to be unleashed on Louisiana higher education.
And the rest of Vitter’s higher ed platform, like “centers of excellence” sound almost exactly like the things Jindal has said and supported.
So this is why I will leave Louisiana if Vitter is elected. He will continue Jindal’s worst policies as pertains to higher education. And they have nothing to do with prostitutes or spies. Those are just lagniappe.
According to Vitter, his accusers “don’t want to talk about the issues.”
Well, here you go. As far as higher ed is concerned, we are likely staring down a third Jindal term if Vitter is elected. Based just on the issues, of course.
PS – Biggest laugher on Vitter’s higher ed position page:
Regularly visited with Louisiana higher ed students and administrators on campuses around Louisiana regarding their top challenges and priorities.
Especially considering that the LA Regents Gubernatorial Forum has been rescheduled for December 1, a full ten days AFTER the runoff election!
10/28/15 update – I asked John Bel Edwards last night on the Jim Engster show what happened with the LA Regents Gubernatorial Forum. Apparently it was canceled due to other scheduling conflicts and that the Regents thought it would be better to host an event with the governor-elect rather than hold another forum prior to the election. So credit where credit is due… David Vitter did not (that we know of) opt out of this event.