University of Louisiana System cuts language programs

BATON ROUGE - With a troubled economy our state’s education system has taken more than its fair share of cuts. The latest example of these cuts is considered by some to be an indirect attack on the culture and history of our state. The University of Louisiana system has decided to cut back on French programs and other academic degrees at Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University.

The Council for the Development of French Language in Louisiana (CODOFIL) says that we have to try and preserve our culture and our language. Cajun French is part of our heritage and our heritage does play a strong role in the tourist industry in Louisiana. CODOFIL Chariman Warren Perrin argues that, “as we try to save the Gulf, let’s try to save the French language.”

The argument from school officials has been that the budget cuts have to made somewhere, so they have started with the programs with the lowest enrollment.

“We are disappointed and regret having to make these decisions, “says Southeastern President John Crain, “but we have no choice.”

State colleges have received $270 million in the past 18 months and are potentially facing $290 million in new cuts next summer when federal stimulus money is expected to run out.

Nicholls State University eliminated its French programs last year. LSU is planning to cut funding for its French and Francophone Studies and it is planning to eliminate Latin and German programs.

The UL System Academic and Student Affairs Committee approved the Southeastern cuts on an 8 to 2 vote and unanimously approved the more widespread Northwestern cuts, which also include cutting nine other degrees, include cutting nine other degrees, including in physics, chemistry, journalism, and political science. The full UL System Board is expected to rubberstamp the decisions today.

More cuts to other programs are expected. UL System Board member Paul Aucoin decried the repeated budget cuts on higher education and health care in Louisiana. He said that he is unhappy that there seems to be a general apathy among Louisianians about the budget cuts. There should be some outrage coming from the public. However, nothing is being done about the repeated budget cuts to the educational sector.

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