Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

Chair of UNO English Department Pens Op-Ed for The Times-Picayune

As Louisiana residents awaited news of the governor's executive budget for 2015-2016, a University of New Orleans professor penned an op-ed letter to The Times-Picayune saying that the university will never close — but residents and state legislators must do everything they can to ensure there are no further cuts to higher education.

"While we wait for the release of Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, it's essential that everyone in the greater New Orleans area who has a stake in the future of the University of New Orleans understand that the looming budget crisis will not force this university to close," said Peter Schock, chair of the UNO English Department and a member of the University Budget Committee. "Let me explain why."

Schock explained in his letter, published Thursday, that “like any other Louisiana public university, UNO can be closed only by an act of the state Legislature, and it is unthinkable that such a bill would pass in the coming legislative session.”

Not only is closing any university politically unfeasible, but doing so would have little to no impact and could “actually worsen matters, while creating many other messy problems too numerous to list here,” Schock said, insisting: “All speculative talk about the imminent demise of UNO therefore needs to stop.”

In an extremely articulate letter, Schock cited the many sacrifices that the University has made since 2008, as a result of deep budget cuts totaling more than $40 million. He attested to the University's “abiding commitment to students” and urged legislators to find other ways to close the $1.6 million budget gap now facing the state.

Read Peter Schock’s letter here: UNO Will Never Close, But Students Deserve More Than a Gutted Shell