Financial crisis looming at Southern University

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 6:05pm

Faculty members at Southern University are hoping to stop the school's governing board from declaring a financial emergency.

The Southern University System Board of Supervisors met this afternoon to make a decision on the emergency declaration. Southern leaders say financial exigency can be avoided if 90% of the professors agree to two years of consecutive furloughs of up to 10%.

The board voted to back a substitute motion by board member Tony Clayton to reconvene at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

This delay gives faculty more time to collect signatures for the furlough petition. With all of the financial difficulties Southern is facing, students are concerned about the future of the school and its students.

"(I’m) definitely nervous about the degree that's not going to mean that much,” stated Theartis Neal Jr., a student at Southern. “Even though I'm on my way out, I'm thinking more for the future, and the students that are yet to come, just cause of what they heard about Southern university."

The financial emergency declaration would give the university more leeway to lay off professors. No public Louisiana university has declared exigency since the University of New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina.

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