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Southern University System

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Proposed state budget cuts catastrophic to SU System - Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Southern University and A&M College System (SUS)--America's only historically black college and university system, an asset vital to the state of Louisiana and to the nation--will be devastated by the proposed budget cuts currently being considered by the Louisiana Legislature.

The Southern University System would be cut nearly $19 million dollars in state funds, almost 32.7 percent of the state's portion of its total operating budget.

The SU System provides substantial resources to Louisiana's economy and plays an important role in supporting economic and workforce development that bring benefits to the state and region.

"We are fighting against what would be, by far, the most harmful cutback in state appropriations ever experienced in our history. After $35 million of resource reductions since 2009, and a recent declaration of financial exigency at our flagship campus, we have nothing left to cut," said SU System President Ronald Mason Jr.

Fewer classes, elimination of complete degree programs and scholarships, and huge faculty and staff layoffs, will be the impact for the Southern University System and other Louisiana universities.

Detrimental changes are a certainty according to SU System Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs Kevin Appleton.

"The projected impact is disastrous for the SU System. We expect additional layoffs, further academic program elimination, System-wide furloughs, and declaration of financial exigency for other campuses,” said Appleton.

Efforts to balance the SUS budget based on the current state budget proposal through various strategies including further staff reductions and programmatic changes, will not be sufficient to sustain the SU System campuses through even the short term.

"These cuts would strike a deadly blow to our efforts as we proceed with plans to move Southern toward a more secure, distinguished place in higher education," said Mason.