Southern University’s governing board has again delayed a vote on whether to declare a financial emergency for the system’s main campus in Baton Rouge, as university leaders continue to haggle with faculty over pay cuts that could stave off the declaration.
The Board of Supervisors had scheduled to debate the declaration of “financial exigency” on Wednesday. But the board moved the meeting to Friday, the second time a vote on the issue was postponed.
Darren Mire, chairman of the board, said the delay was in hopes of trying to broker a compromise on faculty furloughs and avoid emergency status.
“We are still hoping for an amicable solution before this time,” Mire said in an e-mail to faculty leaders on the Baton Rouge campus.
The financial emergency declaration would give the historically black university more leeway to lay off professors but would be considered a negative mark against the school that could harm recruiting and accreditation.
SU System officials have said at least 90 percent of the faculty will have to agree to two years of consecutive furloughs of up to 10 percent, for the Baton Rouge campus to avoid emergency status.
No public Louisiana university has declared exigency since the University of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Sudhir Trivedi, president of the Southern main campus’ faculty senate, called such a declaration “dangerous and irresponsible.”
Like other Louisiana colleges, Southern’s main campus has been hit by several rounds of state budget cuts while health care and retirement costs have grown. Meanwhile, the university’s enrollment has dropped steadily over the last five years, draining tuition dollars from the campus.