Foreign Language Teachers at LSU Fight Back

They’re not about to lose their jobs and the departments they represent without a fight.  The LSU Fourteen (fourteen foreign language teachers who had been told by the administration that they would lose their jobs at the university by January 2011) decided they were not going to sit around and be fired.  Support for them has continued to grow at the university as well as beyond.  On October 5, groups of LSU faculty and students showed up to protest the budget cuts in a New Orleans-styled jazz funeral with horns blasting and protestors marching slowly across the LSU Parade Ground.

It’s great to see that students and faculty can find a common cause!  Hope the protests work!!  Here’s a report about the November 5 rally:

Kelsey Scram reports for NBC33 tv on the issue:  the link to the actual tv report is (view the video via that site)

Fourteen LSU instructors are set to lose their jobs at the end of the semester. The university chalks it up to budget cuts, but one advocacy group says, not so fast.

Senior Hollis Carter devotes her free time to saving LSU’s foreign language department.She and the other members of the Proud Students organization try to find alternative solutions to getting rid of the Foreign Language 14.

“We’re making progress as a whole, as a student body and as a community,” says Carter.

Now, however, she has the backing of a national advocacy group. The American Association of University Professors sent a letter to Chancellor Michael Martin, asking him to reinstate the 14 instructors. This is the third such suggestion they’ve sent out to LSU this year.”I think it shows that this isn’t just a local small thing about students getting upset,” says Carter. “Its a big deal.”

The Letter continues to suggest that if the instructors have to be fired, they should at least get to finish out the academic year.

Angelika Roy is a German teacher. She’s one of the 14 teachers losing her job in January. “There are very little opportunities for us to find employment in the middle of the academic year,” she says.

The AAUP says the instructors deserved more notice that they would be getting laid off. Many have worked at LSU for more than seven years. That counts as a form of tenure, according to the advocacy group.

“I hope the chancellor says we will need to look at this whole scenario again and it was a bad decision,” says Roy.

Chancellor Martin also heard from the Faculty Senate this week. They recommended keeping the instructors around a little longer, too. Now, both students and their teachers wait to see what Martin will do next.

“I want him to come out and talk to us, tell us what’s going on in his head,” says Carter.

LSU Provost John Hamilton says he has not read the letter from AAUP yet, but he feels that the university is in the right. He says LSU gave the instructors a year’s notice of their termination. He says the school does not have the money to keep the instructors on for another semester.


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