Friday, November 30, 2012

Les Miles and the Zombie Apocalypse

What's left of Louisiana Higher Education

By Dayne Sherman
Talk About the South
November 30, 2012

I was stunned. The news that Les Miles was offered a coaching job at the University of Arkansas hit me in the gut.

Good thing LSU could give the coach a raise and extend his contract.

The Hogs brought home the bacon with a $27.5 million offer, but the Tigers must have really roared in the big bucks.

I was actually daydreaming that Coach Miles was headed to Arkansas.

Leaving the LSU Tigers would be the canary in the coal mine, and it would have shown just how far the mighty had fallen.

Had Les Miles departed Baton Rouge, it would have been the zombie apocalypse all across Louisiana.

Finally, the lapdog legislators and business elite would take note.

Though the Tigers appear safe for now, please get to know some facts about Louisiana higher education under Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Since 2008, $450 million have been axed from college budgets, there have been no raises for most faculty members in five years, several universities are in death spirals, and the LSU Board of Supervisors is nothing more than an adjunct of the Governor’s Office.

The out-migration of faculty members and administrators is staggering and a national embarrassment that grows worse by the day.

Several university administrations are on the American Association of University Professors censure list and more are under investigation.

Faculty and staff members are demoralized and fearful.

Students are paying a lot more for an inferior education.

The medical schools aren’t far from losing accreditation due to the ongoing charity-hospital fiasco, and LSU merger shenanigans have the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools questioning potential conflicts ofinterest in Baton Rouge.

Tiger fans, without SACS accreditation, LSU is nothing more than a diploma mill with some pretty oak trees, and the NCAA won’t let an unaccredited school field a football team.

I could go on and on, but no one seems to care.

Some people have questioned LSU’s priorities giving Coach Miles an obscene pay raise when we’re closing hospitals and placing the entire higher-education structure at risk.

Indeed, we should question the priorities of the state as a whole for letting the governor sink our ship while he pines away for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Louisiana higher education and even football will be better off after Jindal’s departure. Les Miles would be sorely missed. Our current governor, not so much.

Dayne Sherman lives in Ponchatoula and is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website at
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