University president asks community, others for donations, pledges
GRAMBLING, LA. – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue is asking university alumni, faculty, staff, students, friends and supporters to show concern and support of the institution by making a donation.
“I am sure that you are aware of the recent boycott by our football players (which ended recently), that brought national and international attention to Grambling State University,” the president wrote in an Oct. 22 open letter. “I believe good things can come from creative tension. Creative tension can be used to bring attention to the larger needs of society.”
The GSU football team boycotted practices and training sessions and forfeited a Saturday afternoon game at Jackson State University in Mississippi to bring attention to a number of concerns, most of which have something to do with the university’s declining state support. The president notes that he launched an official, presidential “ask” campaign during the 2012 homecoming, asking alumni and others to donate $1,000 between October 2012 and this year’s homecoming on Nov. 2, 2013. “Many of you responded and for that we are grateful,” he writes. “I am re-announcing the appeal and asking for your help to improve the university.”
Pogue goes on to say that all of the national media attention shows that what the university faces is “larger than football.”
“What we are addressing today is symptomatic of something larger that exists on our campus – our financial plight. We have serious needs across the entire university,” he wrote.
In recent days the university has worked to broaden the scope of concern and interest to bring attention to a long list of concerns and needs, including “many other buildings and areas that are in need of upgrading.” Pogue says the university “will use our limited resources to respond to these inadequacies and solicit the support of alumni, corporate sponsors and our university friends to contribute to these urgent needs of the university.”
As he has done consistently on campus in various forums, in faculty, staff and student meetings, the president says in the letter that during the last six years, “the university’s state appropriation has been drastically reduced from $31.6 million to $13.8 million.”
Continuing with more detailed explanation, Pogue goes on to say “the university is operating on an annual budget that is lower than the operational budget six years ago.”
“Grambling, when compared to other University of Louisiana System (ULS) schools, is closest to declaring financial exigency,” an official form of recognizing an urgent demand or need.
“These budget cuts come at a time when the State of Louisiana has mandated annual increases in college admission standards for high school graduates; annual increases in tuition since FY 2008 have resulted in a 61% increase in tuition and fees; 60% of our parents do not qualify for education loans; the state has mandated performance measures focused on student retention and graduation rates; and, the nation-wide economy has led to excessive unemployment,” his letter continues. “These developments and others negatively impact the university’s ability to fulfill its historic mission of providing exceptional opportunities for underserved citizens, many of whom are African Americans.”
Still, Pogue says, the university will continue its commitment “to educate our students and provide them with state of the art technology and resources” while focusing on “maintaining and increasing academic excellence through quality classroom and online instruction.”
The president asks interested individuals and organizations to make donations and pledges to the Grambling University Foundation, Inc. “to ensure that the university receives your personal contribution.”
Pogue assures donors that “the university will acknowledge your contribution and ensure that it is used for the purpose you have identified.”
Donors may contact Brenda Williams in the Office of Institutional Advancement at 318-274-6032 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at P. O. Box 587, Grambling, LA 71245. All donors will be listed on the university’s website at www.gram.edu (specifically, http://www.gram.edu/offices/administration/president/donors.php).
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