The lack of funding for Grambling State University has led to higher tuition, fewer resources and several employee layoffs.
In five years, state funding for GSU has dropped from $31 million to $14 million, a 57 percent cut in funding, which is producing issues for teachers and students.
“The more we cut faculty, the fewer classes we can offer,” said David Hodges, 57, a humanities professor from Orlando, Fla. “To my knowledge, at least four faculty members have been laid off.”
An instructor who has been working at GSU for the past six years was given the option to teach four classes and take a demotion to adjunct faculty, which is considered to be a temporary position without health benefits.
“I looked inside myself and discovered I could not do that,” said Marcy Haynes, 62, a former instructor in the English Department who was laid off on Aug. 28.
“If tenure were not a factor, then the university could have disposed of a number of professors who really do not do their share to educate students, rather than hurt the lecturers who do work toward the goal of giving you your money’s worth,” she said.
Some students taking courses in the English Department are facing the effects of employee layoffs.
“I didn’t have a teacher in my freshman composition class for the whole first week of school,” said Ellis Young, a junior business major.
“On Tuesday of the second week a female instructor shows up and says that she’s our teacher, and then on Thursday a man shows up and says he’s our teacher.”
Young said the new instructor has just started teaching freshman composition after the original teacher for the class was fired. “I think budget cuts are unnecessary and negatively affecting Grambling,” said Young, 20, a Shreveport native.
Moreover, a composition class has yet to begin for Omar Dawson, a nursing major, who is eager to start working on assignments.
“Each day I go to class and the instructor isn’t there,” said Dawson, a junior from Bunkie. “I just hope that we will be prepared when the time comes for us to take quizzes and tests.”
Residents of Louisiana are thinking of alternative ways to combat budget cuts, rather than raising the price of tuition, room, and board. One New Orleans native is “convinced that the main problem is Gov. Bobby Jindal.”
“He doesn’t care about teachers or Louisiana’s universities,” said Cassandra Ife, 47, mother of a GSU student and a pre-K teacher at Paul B. Habans Elementary School in New Orleans. “The longer Bobby Jindal stays in office, the more we will have to endure budget cuts for educational institutions.”