I grew up in Louisiana and have two degrees from LSU (bachelors of general studies, 1983; master of arts in anthropology, 1994). Although my life opportunities and career have taken me to other places, I guess you could say they haven’t taken Louisiana out of my family and my sense of who I am. The connections run deep. My spouse graduated with a physical therapy degree in 1982, and one of our daughters graduated from LSU at the end of 2012 after receiving much of her elementary and early high school education in New York.
One of the values I grew up with that has been confirmed by living in states as diverse as Texas, New York, Oklahoma and North Carolina is that state public institutions of higher education matter. My father worked for the LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Growing up in a household defined by the work of those arms of the university, I realized that such institutions inculcate values of community responsibility and service as much as they serve as economic engines for the states from which they draw their constituency. In no kind of economic or social calculus do the continual budget cuts to public higher education in Louisiana make sense.
The staff of the Daily Reveille provides a model by raising these concerns, and we should be proud of the women and men who make their editorial decisions and work to tell the truth about the impact of the proposed cuts. Their lead should be followed.
What percentage of the state population has ties to LSU? Regardless of which side of the ideological spectrum one stands, if the Tiger alumni roared about the damage being done to the university system at the same decibel level of Tiger stadium on a Saturday night in the fall, then both the governor and the legislature would have a more difficult time ignoring the long-term harm being perpetuated by this madness. The welfare of the state citizenry is in play, and one hopes that better humanistic instincts will prevail, as well as the influence LSU has both at home and beyond Louisiana’s borders.
associate professor of anthropology, Davidson College
Cornelius, North Carolina