The American Association of University Professors voted Saturday during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., to censure LSU and a pair of universities in the University of Louisiana System — Northwestern State in Natchitoches and Southeastern in Hammond — bringing to five the number of state institutions of higher learning on the AAUP’s censure list now numbering 52. Nicholls State University and Our Lady of Holy Cross College were already on the censure list for AAUP-perceived mistreatment of professors.
“Censure by the AAUP informs the academic community that the administration of an institution has not adhered to the generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure jointly formulated by the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges and Universities and endorsed by more than 200 professional and educational organizations,” the group writes in an introduction to the censure reports.
LSU was censured because of the ouster of Ivor van Heerden, a nationally recognized coastal researcher who was intensely and publicly critical of the Army Corps of Engineers’ role in the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. The AAUP also cites the case of LSU biology professor Dominique Homberger, who was removed from the classroom by LSU for alleged harsh grading practices.
Northwestern and Southeastern were censured for using “program discontinuances as an excuse to get rid of selected tenured faculty members” in response to state budget cuts, the AAUP says.
Immediately on the heels of the reports’ release Saturday, UL System President Randy Moffett went to bat for his universities, citing $187 million in budget cuts since 2008 with an additional $54 million slated for next year.
“If the AAUP wants to be a relevant organization, its efforts would be better served by working with higher education in advocating for adequate funding of institutions, thus mitigating the need for universities to close programs and associated faculty positions,” Moffett writes, adding, “Placing universities on a censure list has little, if any, practical implication as the AAUP is an advocacy group that holds no authority over higher education institutions and represents less than four percent of instructional staff at degree-granting institutions nationwide. In fact, all institutions currently on its list maintain full accreditation, which is a true, independent measure of quality delivery of educational services.”
Read the full AAUP reports on LSU, Northwestern and Southeastern here. Moffett’s full response is here.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.