French Programs Slashed at Louisiana Universities

Once again budget cuts provide the excuse to reduce or eliminate foreign language programs at various universities.  This time they are hurting French departments at Louisiana universities.  Sounds like British Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant’s detrimental comments about French are finding supporters!  Also, Louisiana State University may be cutting its German and Latin departments as well.

The following story, “UL System cuts language programs,” is by Jordan Bllum http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/education/97131574.html

The University of Louisiana System moved forward Thursday with cutting French programs and other academic degrees at Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University.

The program cuts come despite outcries from the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana that colleges are killing the state’s culture and history by eliminating French and foreign language programs.

“As we try to save the Gulf, let’s try to save the French language,” said CODOFIL Chairman Warren Perrin, arguing that the state’s $2 billion tourism industry is strongly tied to Louisiana’s French, Cajun and Creole roots.

Southeastern President John Crain said he hates to cut quality programs, but that the state’s budget crisis necessitates axing the school’s low-enrollment programs.

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

Colleges have received $270 million in cuts in the past 18 months — more than 20 percent of state funds for higher education.

In addition, higher education could face $290 million in new cuts next summer when federal stimulus dollars are scheduled to run dry.

Such proposals come on top of Nicholls State University eliminating its French degree programs last year.

LSU recently announced plans to cut state funding for its Center for French and Francophone Studies.

LSU also plans to get rid of, among other programs, its Latin and German degree programs.

The UL System Academic and Student Affairs Committee approved the Southeastern cuts on an 8-2 vote and unanimously approved the more widespread Northwestern cuts, which also 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.

Crain said cutting the French and French education degree programs are just the first step of more anticipated cuts.

UL System Board member Paul Aucoin decried the repeated budget cuts on higher education and health care in Louisiana.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts here,” Aucoin said. “There ought to be a sense of outrage from our citizens, and I just don’t see it.”

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