U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-City on a Hill, is nothing if not persistent. He also possesses a myopic view of the role of higher education. So there’s that.
Photo Illustration (obviously)
Rep. Landry’s leather codpiece shields his package from university elitism. He brooks neither namby nor pamby.
Landry’s ongoing pandering to the nabobs of intolerance whose satin boxers have become uncomfortably wedged within the cleft betwixt their pink, flabby hindquarters over UL Lafayette’s LGBT Studies minor continues unabated. What’s a salt-of-the-earth teacup poodle staring at an ignominious end to his brief tenure in Congress to do? Keep the pressure on UL President Joe Savoie to put the kibosh on a program that is merely an aggregation of already-offered courses at the university, one that costs UL and the taxpaying public not a red cent to offer. And hope someone notices. That’s why he posted a letter exchange between himself and Savoie (reproduced below) on his congressional website. More than anything the letters demonstrate that our mild-mannered university prez is both standing his ground and treading the high road.
A little more than a week after Landry's mid-July letter to Savoie urging him to discontinue the LGBT Studies minor, Savoie penned a response. Savoie’s July 27 explanation for leaving the program intact is twofold.
Savoie’s first defense — that doing so could threaten UL’s accreditation and make students ineligible for federal student loans because the university’s administration and faculty followed procedure in establishing the minor — is solid, and he lays it out concisely. But it’s less important than the second defense, which counters a central notion in Landry’s short-sighted worldview: a university’s role in a community isn’t that of a vocational school:
Certainly proper preparation of our students for the current and projected job market is a responsibility and a priority of the university. But we are living in a world where nine-to-five jobs are declining, careers over a lifetime with one company are uncommon, and economic risk has shifted from large institutions to individuals. Our students will know and must be prepared for a world that is much more unstable and fluid than the one of just a generation ago.
That is why we strive to create a learning environment that produces not only a highly skilled, but also a broadly educated, self-motivated graduate, with a passion for life-long learning, aware of their civic obligations and ethically responsible in their careers.
Bravo, Dr. Savoie! What could the congressman possible not understand in all this? Well, all of it. Yesterday, Aug. 23, Landry responded.
“The future of our students and their economic prospects should be our top priority, not placating to political pressures,” Landry writes, in part. “Diverting your limited resources to advance a political agenda at the expense of our students is unacceptable.” And blah, blah, blah. And yada yada.
This is also epic hypocrisy on the part of Landry, a Tea Party patriot who rails against federal meddling in local affairs. The congressman is evidently fine with the federal government meddling in UL’s affairs now that he’s the federal government.
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.