How LSU Shreveport Could Say ‘See Ya’ to the LSU System
There's been a great deal of talk lately about the disparity of funding between the main LSU campus and the system's branch locations across the state.
As recently noted by State Rep. Thomas Pressly on the floor of the state legislature, LSU Baton Rouge is funded to the tune of $1.35 billion annually, while three secondary campuses in Shreveport, Alexandria and Eunice share a mere $29 million.
So the question arises, would Shreveport's public four-year university be better served outside of the LSU system and what would the process of leaving one group of schools for another entail.
"This conversation's been going on since 1968," says Dr. Jim Henderson, University System of Louisiana President. "It's really about deciding about where does that university go and what is the optimum place for it to be and then ensuring that it has the optimum resources...to help them realize their potential.
"That's an LSU system decision and I'm going to leave it to them...on how they approach that. I think really being creative about what the vision is for that university and finding the resources to help them realize that is going to be the key."
But what would be the process - legally, legislatively, etc. - for LSU to leave the LSU umbrella? "First, let me say we're not in the hostile takeover game at all," Henderson emphasizes, "There is a process that has been defined...and it charges this decision, the first part, with the Board of Regents who operate the university. The constitution requires that they do a study - or the legislature can mandate they do a study - and report the result of that study back...and the legislature can act."
"The legislature gets the final word on that," Henderson explains, "It takes a two-thirds vote of both houses...so it's a high hurdle. And if you look over time there have been multiple efforts to do it. They've rarely been successful, because change is hard. Change is very difficult."