“I’m not gating myself in,” said university president Horace Judson in an impromptu conference with mostly angry students Monday afternoon. “Let’s not be ridiculous.”After parking tickets sprouted on vehicles parked on campus, dozens of students walked to Long Jones Hall to vocalize campus concerns to the university president. Shortly after 1 p.m., the lobby was filled with students. Some signed a petition and exchanged contact information. Others bonded over Grambling State tales of turmoil. Inside the presidential conference room about 25 students listened to Judson’s responses to their inquiries.
A hot ticket item is a structure that has been dubbed “the fence.” Many in the Grambling community believe that construction of the gate in front of the president’s house costs $300,000. As a result, the beginning phases of this structure have proven to be problematic for students who said their money could have been spent elsewhere.
It should be noted that the newsletter, The Inside Edition, said that the fence cost $300,000. This figure was never verified. ‘
The fence’s bid price was about $160,000, according to an email from Donald Lee, of the University of Louisiana System.
The fence has been in the works for 4 years, said president Judson. He added that although he lives in the house “24/7”, it is not his house and will be around long after he’s gone.
Significant safety concerns have arisen with the property, said president Judson.
Student Government Association President Steven Jackson said that he’s like a walking target for the university’s issues.
Jackson expressed a desire to work collaboratively with the administration.
After the fence was addressed, the meeting became a venting session. Several students shared Financial Aid anecdotes. Some students completed their documentation and had the ball dropped by aid counselors, Judson said.
Others hadn’t completed the registration process. In instances of mishandled documents or other problems, which weren’t attributable to wrong doing on the student’s part, Judson signed late fee waivers, he said.
The president also explained the chain of command for student concerns as follows:
Requests are sent to the ULS board. If approved, they can graduate to the Regents and state levels. Judson acknowledged a need to revamp financial aid and modernize the library.
“It is not acceptable. We continue to say it’s not acceptable,” said Judson.
The number one priority for the university is the library, said Judson.
Requests are typically 100 times greater than the money allocated, said Judson.
Judson cited a $600 million backlog for university requests. GSU submitted $200 million worth of projects, Judson said. GSU receives about $3 million, Judson said.
“We don’t get what we’re supposed to get,” said Judson. “We keep fighting the battle.