The Special Session Clock is Ticking!

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President

The Special Session Clock is Ticking!

With the clock quickly ticking on special session, I want to make sure you, Grambling Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, and Friends, are aware that still lurking in the budget is the largest midyear cut to higher education in the state’s history. Even with the revenue-raising measures passed by the House of Representatives, some already approved and others waiting for approval by the upper chamber, a $75 million cut for higher education remains.  Not only will universities receive a $42 million reduction in state funding but they will also not receive TOPS payments made on behalf of every student on TOPS. We implore you to continue to consider options to fix this gap for higher education before March 9.

No other state in the nation has cut funding to higher education more than Louisiana. Since 2008, Louisiana’s colleges and campuses have had 13 midyear cuts, three in the last 90 days.  According to the Southern Regional Education Board, students enrolled in Louisiana colleges and universities receive the lowest state funding in the South. While students in surrounding states receive an average of close to $6,000 in state funding per student, Louisiana students receive only $3,200. To make up the difference, Louisiana has increased tuition 99 percent, however, even with rapidly increasing tuition costs, Louisiana continues to fall short of funding compared to every other Southern state.

Louisiana already ranks as one of the most uneducated states in the nation, ranking 48th in educational attainment or citizens with a two-year or four-year degree. Educating the citizens of our state is an investment, not a cost. On average, those with college degrees pay twice as many taxes annually as those who conclude education with a high school diploma.

Thank you for your support of Grambling State University and higher education and we look forward to working with you to ensure Louisiana has a stable and sustainable funding source for higher education so our Grambling State University and other institutions can focus on educating our citizens rather than how to trim budgets.

 

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Students Rallied, but Legislators voted to Cut Higher Ed Again

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President


Yesterday, while 2,000 college students (Three bus loads from Grambling) from across the state rallied on the steps of the State Capitol pleading to spare their colleges and universities from another budget cut, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut higher education again.  This is the third cut to Higher Education in the past 90 days as Louisiana continues its race to be the first state in the nation to eliminate state support for public colleges and universities.

This cut is in addition to the $70 million the Legislature is considering right now that has been described as the “best case scenario” for higher education.  Louisiana has cut its colleges and universities to the level that we are behind every state in the South, ranking dead last in state support.  Further cuts to Grambling State University will cripple the state’s higher education system. Our legislators are deciding now the future stability of our postsecondary education system. Our universities have been cut to the bone—we can’t take further disinvestment.

Our legislators have difficult choices to make, but our lawmakers must recognize the value in educating Louisianans. A college graduate contributes $3,900 more in tax revenue to Louisiana than someone with only a high school diploma. An investment in higher education is not only an investment in our students—it is an investment in our state and our future.

Please call, write, email, or tweet your legislators and ask them for no more cuts to higher education.  Louisiana’s future depends on it. Grambling State University’s future depends on it.

 

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Grambling State University Our Priority

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY OUR PRIORITY

Make Higher Education A Priority

Dear GSU Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends:

Since 2008, Louisiana’s higher education system has been under constant pressure to do more with less. Colleges and universities have answered that call with a reduction of programs, faculty, staff and spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Louisiana 16th in the nation in higher education efficiency. Any more cuts to higher education will go well beyond efficiency and have a serious impact on students—cancelled classes, delayed graduation, additional program elimination, delayed building maintenance and more faculty and staff layoffs. We do not want this for Grambling State University.

Louisiana already ranks #1 nationwide in cuts to higher education and is “racing to the bottom” to provide the least amount of funding to colleges and universities of any state in the nation.  Not only does Louisiana rank #1 in cuts to higher education but it also ranks near dead last or 48th nationwide in the level of funding Louisiana provides for our colleges, universities and research centers statewide.  To make up the difference, our students and their families are paying 99% more in tuition and fees than they did in 2008, placing hardships on our families and closing the door for many of the state’s most promising students.  These tuition increases are crippling GSU’s recruiting efforts.

The Governor has proposed a mixture of cuts and bills that will raise revenues to stabilize the budget and stop continued cuts to Higher Education:

This week, the Governor’s most critical piece of legislation that will protect higher education from additional cuts will be voted on at the capital.

Existing Revenue and Cuts Total
Rainy Day Fund $128M
BP Settlement Fund Non-Coastal Dollars $200M
Executive Order Cuts by the Governor $21M
JLCB Cuts Recommended by the Governor $38M
Legislative Cuts Recommended by the Governor $29.5M
Supplemental Budget Cuts $70M
Cuts to Ad Valorem Tax Credits (HB 46, HB 47 by Rep. James) $50M

 

Increased Revenues Author FY16
“Clean Penny” Sales Tax House Bill 62 by Rep. Katrina Jackson $221.8M
Business Utilities Tax House 64 by Rep. Montoucet $60M
Increased Tobacco Tax HB 14 by Rep.  Leger $16M
Increased tax on Alcoholic Beverages HB 27 by Rep. Cox $6.7M
Income Tax Brackets HB 34 by Rep. Leger $44.2M
Change in Ad Valorem Tax Credits HBs 46 & 47 by Rep. James $50M

House Bill 62 by Rep. Katrina Jackson, referred to as the “clean penny” sales tax is expected to be heard this week on the House Floor.    

There are only 16 days left in the special session to stop the cuts to higher education.   In the budget proposal under consideration now, higher education can expect a $70 million dollar cut which will be the 13th mid-year cut to higher education since 2008.   Another cut to higher education only ensures Louisiana’s downward spiral in funding for higher education.

GSU supporters, your role to stop Louisiana’s race to defund higher education is critical – please keep sharing information with your legislators and neighbors about the significant role Grambling State University plays in Louisiana’s future success.  We need that message to be heard in every parish and every community across our state if it is to truly resonate. Tomorrow, February 24th is “Higher Education Day at the Capital” with a rally that will be held at noon on the Capitol steps hosted by the student body presidents of each college and university statewide.

TOGETHER, we can help our state choose to make funding for our colleges and universities in support of Louisiana’s students and their families a priority.

Click here for PDF:
http://www.gram.edu/president/corner/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/GSU-Our-Priority-2-23-16.pdf

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Grambling State University Is Fighting for Her Life

 

By

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President

Grambling State University Dear Grambling State University Faculty, Students, Staff, Alumni, Friends, and Allies:

Grambling State University is fighting for her life.  Yes, I use the gender ‘she’ when referring to our beloved Grambling.  Boats are often referred to as ‘she’.  And countries are also oftentimes referred to as ‘she’. As I think of Grambling State University, I have witnessed, firsthand, how ‘she’ has given birth to thousands of beautiful minds, rising stars, and intellectual explorers.  She, Grambling State University, has also birthed all who walk her halls, enjoy her splendor, teach in her classrooms, eat in her dining halls, work in her offices, and marvel at her majesty, no matter one’s views.

Yet, in the light of all her glory, the embrace of all she selflessly gives, and in the midst of her greatness is, once again, a major battle she is fighting.  A fight for her life!  A fight for her very existence and continuation!  I script these words, these prose, these metaphors with an unrequited resolve to protect her, cherish her, and lead her back to health and greatness.

She, Grambling State University, has charged me, her president, her healer, with the duty and responsibility to heal her many wounds and bruises through many fights she has endured, through the ravages of time, and through the legacy that is aging her.  As her president, her surgeon to carry this metaphor, I have looked deep into the bowels of her inner operations and have seen the cancers that must be removed, the healing that must occur, and the wounded legacy that must be mended.

While Grambling has given birth to countless thousands of graduates, she was also birthed by a group of Black farmers who, in many ways and through many untold stories, sacrificed, fought, and died to birth, nurture, and cultivate a new life for many of our legacy students that starved for learning.  Those were times many cannot even imagine.  Still, in 1901, there were those farmers who had created a vision, which did not occur in a few months; there were those farmers who battled racism and all other ism’s that begot Black Americans at the turn of the century; and those farmers who shed blood, sweat, and tears to keep her, Grambling, alive to grow into a major, respected center of intellectual strength; a citadel of discovery.

Please, join me in saving her!  Join me in healing her!  Join me as we fight this battle to strengthen her.  While many presidents nationally are experiencing the same or similar confrontations, I can only fight one major battle at a time—and my fight is to save Grambling!  My fight is to battle all those who inflicted pains on her infrastructure while she opened her arms for the past 115 years.  My fight is to battle all those systems that want to do her harm.  And my fight is to battle all those who might want to stay the course that could become a cancer to her.  She, Grambling State University, needs time to regain her strength, chart a new direction, and recover from thousands of knife cuts to her legacy.  My fight is to save her life for generations to come!

And, let me say to the over 200 faculty and those faculty on the Faculty Senate that understand the delicacy of our plight, thank you for your support!  Thank you!  And, to those who expressed their lack of confidence in my ability to heal Grambling over these short seven months of my tenure, please allow me to turn the page, repair these wounds, and heal a wound with more than a Band-Aid as a solution.

As Grambling’s president, her healer, I see, clearly, that our beloved Grambling is navigating minefields of destruction.  As her president, her healer, I am mending her tragic and aging wounds, while, at the same time, fighting battles on many fronts to save her life.  Join me on a short journey as I script this narrative to paint a picture of her prognosis, because, she, Grambling, is confronting, a long dark hallway of legislation.

Yes, I titled this letter; “Grambling State University is Fighting for Her Life.”  Quite literally, Grambling is confronting a time when its life support has been weakened through the 2016 mid-year budget cuts, totaling over $38,037,806, with $2,509,045 from our Grambling alone.  Grambling is facing unprecedented financial times in higher education in the State of Louisiana and on her campus, our campus.  Just as a point of clarification, when I took office as Grambling’s 9th Permanent President on July 1, 2015; the financial woes at the university were as follows: the structural deficit for the operating budget was $5,158,109.00.  And, the Athletics Department’s budget had a whooping deficit of $5,746,321.00.  So, this administration began its presidency having to dig out of a huge hole.  Although a mammoth task, I am certain we can stay the course and return to financial respectability as a proud and thriving university.  She, Grambling, has been struggling over the past eight repeated cuts to higher education from the state budget.  The current budgetary crisis not only threatens the entire higher education system in Louisiana but on a more personal level, to our own Grambling State University.  There is no Medicare or Medicaid for her.  She pays out of pocket!

And, as many who read this letter know, I expressed during our recent town hall meeting that Grambling is working vigorously to come up with both short-term and long-term plans to cut costs on campus, while, at the same time, putting a human face to our programs we retain.  Students and faculty are our priority.  But, as the years and aging of Grambling marched alone, student numbers kept dwindling, decreasing.  Academic programs were fighting to retain students while, at the same time, tried to increase enrollment.  Yet, again, many of these wounds need time to be fixed, healed.  I only wish I could heal all of her wounds over my short seven month tenure, but that is impossible, for anyone.

But, healing begins and continues as we ALL help in this operation.  Our first stitch can be going as a force to the Wednesday, February 24, Higher Education Day at the legislature.  There, Grambling faculty, students, staff, and allies can rally on the Capital steps.  In addition, an upcoming special legislative session will occur where discussion will involve budgetary concerns, cuts, and Louisiana’s higher education future.  Another stitch to heal will be to see vast numbers of faculty and students who want to help me heal Grambling so she does not continue to bleed. To help me in this operation to heal Grambling, heal her from the blood she has shed for ALL who enjoy her bounty, join me in placing another stitch to stop the bleeding by making our voices heard!  Join me as we heal our lady, through social media with messages to her foes; contacting through phone calls, letters, and community organizing.  Please, help me to stop her bleeding!

Please join me as we work to heal Grambling and remove her bandages and mend her legacy.  Please join me as we fight to save her life.  And please remember that in all operations, it is never just one person doing the operation to save the life.  Please, let’s stop creating new wounds while we are trying to heal other wounds.  Join me as we sanitize our hands and roll up our sleeves to heal our Grambling so that new and emerging brilliance will make a better tomorrow, a new day for Grambling State University!

Together we can do it!

Go Tigers!

 Click here for PDF:
http://www.gram.edu/president/corner/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/GSU-is-Fighting-for-Her-Life-by-Larkin-2-18-16.pdf

Additional Information:

Athletic Director Search Reinstated

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President

February 18, 2016

RE: Search for Athletics Director at Grambling State University

I have heard your resounding sentiments and enthusiasm regarding the search for the permanent Athletics Director for our university.

Acknowledging Grambling State University’s legacy of excellence in athletics and the significance of our athletic programs to the survival of our great institution, I stand in agreement with you that we are much better served if we indeed continue the search for a permanent director of athletics.

Again, our core value of shared governance empowers us to partner, and collaboratively guarantee that the vitality of our institution remains intact.

As a result, we will move forward with high expectations of hiring the best candidate to lead and advance our athletic programs.

With Great Enthusiasm and a Steadfast Commitment to Excellence,

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President

Click here for PDF:
http://www.gram.edu/president/corner/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/20160218170958459.pdf

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Strategic Plan Update

GSU Signature/Letterhead

Office of the President

February 18, 2016

Dear Members of the GSU Community:

Keeping with my promise for complete transparency, this is to inform you that the University’s strategic planning process is still on point.

I have just named Drs. Ellen Smiley and Adriel Hilton as Co-Chairs to the Strategic Planning Committee. These two are committed to keeping Grambling State University strong and will work expeditiously to get the new five-year plan completed by May 2016.

In the meantime, please view this new promo video:

http://www.gram.edu/aboutus/strategic

The Strategic Plan website will be updated regularly and all are encouraged to visit and view the contents. We feel it perfectly describes our current situation—Ready for the Challenge—and we can persevere by staying strong together—We are One!

Thank you all for your hard work and continued support!

With Great Enthusiasm,

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President
ONE GRAMBLING: Honoring History, Keeping Promises and Fulfilling Dreams

Click here for PDF:
http://www.gram.edu/president/corner/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/20160218163640676.pdf

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Suspension of the Search for Athletics Director at Grambling State University

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President


February 12, 2016

Dear Grambling Family:

RE: Suspension of the Search for Athletics Director at Grambling State University

After carefully considering all of my options, I have decided to temporarily suspend the search for a new Athletics Director. With all of the uncertainty around the University’s budget, I cannot in good conscience proceed with the search process. Because of the critical nature of the financial crisis in the State of Louisiana, we will delay our process until we can see a clear way forward.

As university leaders and supporters, we must make decisions that are in the best interest of the University as a whole. To that end, I offer my sincerest of apologies to the Search and Screen Committee, the Search Firm and most of all, the candidates who placed their names in the pool of applicants for this coveted position. I also want to express my disappointment to the faculty, students, staff and alumni who were anticipating that we would be able to conclude with a successful search. However, I am confident that all parties involved will come to the same conclusion that I did; the timing is just not right.

Please stay tuned, we will be monitoring changes in the economy, and when appropriate, we will revisit this matter as soon as possible. Again, thanks for your support with this difficult decision.

With Great Enthusiasm,

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President
Grambling State University

Town Hall PowerPoint Budget Presentation:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1KRVIV340HedU5ENVpMN3BnN2M/view?usp=sharing

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

Grambling State University Faces $2.5 Million State Mid-Year Budget Cut

 

GSU Signature/Letterhead
Office of the President

To: Faculty, Staff and Students

From: Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President

Subject: GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY FACES $2.5 MILLION STATE MID-YEAR BUDGET CUT

Date: January 28, 2016

These are perilous economic times in the State of Louisiana. This communiqué is to inform you that the Governor recently announced a mid-year budget reduction of $262 million to all state agencies. Higher education’s portion of that reduction is $131 million. This translates to a $2,509,045 reduction for Grambling State University.

Although the University remains in a stable condition financially, this latest spending cut will be burdensome because it must be implemented for the remaining six months of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2016. Unfortunately, we will not have the flexibility to spread the reductions over a full year. I have established a Budget and Priorities Committee to develop criteria for budgetary decision-making, including this current reduction. This committee will review previous reductions, current spending levels, priorities and needed plans to protect the core missions of our institution.

I ask for your support and patience during these budget reductions, and I promise to keep you apprised of actions taken. I also encourage you to share any creative cost-saving suggestions you may have via e-mail at gsusavings@gram.edu.

Thank you for your cooperation, and please know that this is not a plan the University looks forward to executing, but one that is necessary given the uncertainty of new revenue. Stay tuned for additional information–to include university-wide conversations.

Click here for PDF:
GSU Mid-Year Budget Cut Letter from Dr. Larkin

P.O. Box 607.403 Main Street • Grambling, LA 71245 • Office: (318) 274-6117 • Fax: (318) 274-6172 • www.gram.edu
A Constituent Member of the University of Louisiana System • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
An Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator • Facilities Accessible to the Disabled

RECRUITMENT: The Cornerstone of Grambling’s Successful Recovery

 

By Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.,
President

Student recruitment is crucial to the survival of today’s public and private colleges and universities, and Grambling State University is no exception. To secure Grambling’s continued success as an iconic Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for our future sons and daughters, we need to reach a recruitment goal of 5,500 students on campus for the 2016-2017 academic year.

This cannot be done via our Admissions Office alone. Everyone at Grambling needs to be a part of this effort, so we are asking for your help.

George C. Dehne wrote an article in 1995 entitled “Reinventing Student Recruitment.” Though technology has come a long way since then and a few admissions practices have changed, Dehne’s basic recruiting principles still hold true. Please note that Dehne does not include a financial aid discussion in his article, as he believes it is such an important factor in student recruitment that it deserves a whole separate article.

A Key Distinction—Dehne says that we should not confuse admissions and recruitment, stating “Admissions is the process of choosing a class from among your applicants. Recruitment is the planning and work it takes to get serious candidates to apply. Not all aspects of an effective student-recruitment effort fall on the shoulders of the Admissions Office. All departments, offices, and committees should know that their decisions and behavior can affect student recruitment. Such factors as how a telephone is answered or the decision to drop or add a course offering may influence a student’s decision to attend.”

A Mobilized Campus—It is the responsibility of everyone at Grambling to recruit students. Faculty, if the Admissions Office has a student interested in your program, always be available to talk with the prospective student. Staff, we are here because of the students, so please show them you care, even if it is something as simple as a smile and an offer of help. Grambling students, please volunteer to be an ambassador for your school to show prospective students around and answer their questions from a real perspective.

The Only Contacts That Count—are those prospective student-initiated contacts. (I.e. returning inquiry—online or paper, asking for more information, submitting an application, any family or friend expressing interest in attending Grambling, etc.). Creating ways to continue the dialogue with these prospective Grambling students should be a top priority.

Knowledge is Power—The more you know about a student’s academic and extracurricular interests and abilities, the more likely you are to convert the student to an applicant and enrollee. This data also provides opportunities for continued dialogue, particularly if he or she requests more information on a specific program offered at Grambling.

Personalization Plus—Know your college. Know what Grambling has to offer. Get involved in knowing areas about Grambling other than your own niche. Be proud of our school, its rich heritage, and what it can offer to prospective students. Send them specific information, a hand-written note, an email; take the time and effort to really give some extra personal attention to reap the rewards.

I have only just touched on a few basic principles that clearly demonstrate how everyone at Grambling can be, should be and is involved in the recruitment process. I implore you to do your part and help us reach our 2016 recruitment goal of 5,500 students on campus, so Grambling will continue to educate and impact the lives of many well into the future.

Let’s all work hard to be a part of its success. I also encourage you to read Dehne’s article at http://www.gdais.com/archive-articles/news_research/research_reinventing.html.

2016 “Year of the Family”

 

Willie D. Larkin, Ph.D.
President

To the Gramfam and ALL who embrace our love for teaching and learning, and our deep and profound love for Grambling,

Please join me in ushering in a New Year!

On behalf of your administration, Happy 2016! Professionally, 2016 serves as the pinnacle of my career – serving as your servant leader to this venerable institution, this testament to times long past, and times yet to be seen.

2016 is an exciting time! Welcome back to ALL and welcome to the “Year of the Family” – Grambling’s Family! The Gramfam!

As this New Year begins, I have sat quietly while deeply reflecting on Grambling’s rich and illustrious history. My skin quivers as I juxtapose Grambling’s past to its future potential, its brighter tomorrow.

To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, who stated over 340 years ago, he was only able to see further because he stood on the shoulders of giants. As the 9th President of Grambling, I can now truly appreciate his meaning. Now, I can only see due to the blood, sweat, and tears of Grambling’s founding fathers and mothers and their relentless and selflessness in building a university of prestige, dignity, and glory which we ALL enjoy today – including the State of Louisiana and the entire nation.

I humbly invite each of you, my Gramfam, to truly be part of the family. We are Grambling… We are Family.  This is the “Year of the Family.”

Families work together. Families cultivate the soil. Families share in the learning. Families share in the teaching. Families live an unspoken pledge of loyalty to their family, through their actions and deeds.

Families embrace new days with glee, cheerfulness, and a positive attitude. Families see tomorrow as a brighter day.

Join me in embracing a new day of prosperity for our number one priority for 2016—Grambling State University!

Stay tuned for my quarterly updates on Grambling’s major successes and accomplishments (March, June, September, and December).

Today starts a new tradition. Each year, my presidency, and future presidencies I hope, will start each year with a “Year of _________________” 2016 is the “Year of the Family!”