This is not a time to vote yes on all amendments and acts. There is a proposed act on the ballot for the November 8th election that everyone needs to vote down and send back. This act is Act 680 – SB 80, also known as the second act on the ballot. This will remove the state legislature’s hold on authorizing the tuition rates at universities, and put the responsibility solely on the boards of the universities. Written by Senator Dan Morrish, a republican of course, SB 80 will provide university board members free will to increase tuition costs as they deem fit. This act can create a huge financial mess for universities and threaten affordability for students.
Currently, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, from 2008-2016 the state funding per student has decreased by 39.1%. Therefore, if the legislators are the ones cutting funding, they should not push the responsibility of setting tuition on the board members of universities. This takes responsibility off of our legislators making it look like they do not want to take the heat for college tuition. Also, this could create confusion amongst the university board members because they themselves cannot determine how much comes from the state. Thus, creating more work in setting tuition costs and possibly leading to financial havoc.
Finally, according to a study performed by Dr. Johnson-Cunningham, a political science professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, examining the voting behavior of public, state-funded university board members, board members consider the fiscal impact on the university before casting their vote. Therefore, if a university has a shortfall, then the first decision to be made will most likely be an increase in tuition. Universities are run like businesses. Costs are formulated with little or no consideration of the consumer, in this case the student. Thus, this act, if passed, can threaten the accessibility and affordability of a higher education for anyone seeking to further their education.
In conclusion, vote no this election day for the second amendment on the ballot. For the future of this state, the sake of college students, and the university systems, send this proposal right back to Senator Morrish. Let him know that the citizens of Louisiana will not let legislators back out of this responsibility. This is an instance where they have no choice but to do their jobs. Once again, SB 80 cannot pass this election. Vote NO.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana