LSU is out of control
Good God, they FIRED Chancellor Tim Ryan – what a blow to an already demoralized university, why don’t they just close it and spare the city all the tortuous grief? There probably is more to the story that we will NEVER find out
UNO Chancellor Tim Ryan says he was fired by LSU president
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 3:24 PM Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 3:31 PM
The chancellor of the University of New Orleans said Thursday that he was relieved of his duties by the Louisiana State University System, which runs UNO.
Walking past lines of applauding supporters, University of New Orleans Chancellor Tim Ryan walks to a news conference in the school’s administration building Thursday to announce he has been relieved of his duties.
Timothy Ryan said LSU system President John Lombardi summoned him to the system’s flagship Baton Rouge campus Thursday morning and told him that he was being relieved but would not give him specific reasons.
Ryan, 60, said there had been increasing friction between him and LSU officials and that system officials often failed to respond to funding requests. He said the system has been increasingly micromanaging UNO, and he believes he was ordered to step down because “I would not let UNO be run as a branch campus of LSU-Baton Rouge.”
Lombardi will be UNO’s interim chancellor as well as system president, said a statement from LSU. It said Lombardi “accepted Ryan’s resignation, noting Ryan’s long service to UNO that spanned many roles, ranging from faculty member to chancellor.”
It said a committee led by Lombardi and two other system officials will manage the transition while the system looks for a new chancellor.
That leaves the university without any strong internal voice as the LSU system makes budget cuts, Ryan said. “There could be no worse time to make this kind of change in leadership,” he said.
Students and faculty lined the hallway of the UNO administration building and applauded Ryan as he walked into a meeting room in the UNO administration building for the news conference. He left the room to more applause from scores of students standing outside. “Don’t let them sacrifice your education,” he told them.
Although LSU’s announcement said Ryan would return as a tenured professor in the UNO College of Business after a six-month sabbatical, Ryan said he isn’t sure what he will do after he finishes teaching a class this semester. Although he acknowledged having told LSU officials in the past that he would resign if that is what they desired, Lombardi’s decision was a surprise. “This was not a completely voluntary resignation,” he said.
In a letter to Ryan, released later Thursday, Lombardi acknowledged Ryan’s “dissatisfaction” at his relationships with system officials and said “I conclude that it is in the best interest of the university to accept your offer to step aside.”
Edward Chervenak, an assistant professor of political science, said he was shocked. He said that, at a Wednesday meeting led by Ryan, he didn’t get any indication that Ryan was going anywhere.
UNO was founded in 1958 as a branch campus of LSU, and was called LSU-New Orleans. The name was changed to University of New Orleans in 1974. LSU also has four-year campuses in Shreveport and Alexandria, though both operate under the LSU name.
Like other state colleges and universities, UNO has been ordered to prepare operating budgets with cuts in state support of 23 and 35 percent — in UNO’s case, $14 million and nearly $19 million from its $123 million budget — because federal stimulus money runs out next year.
The university is still working on the larger proposal. It said losing $14 million in the new fiscal year that begins July 1 would mean 114 layoffs and, among other things, elimination of a number of degree programs in education and accounting.
Last year, UNO announced it could no longer afford Division I athletics because of a steep drop in enrollment after Hurricane Katrina and state budget cuts. It received NCAA approval to drop to Division III in July.
Ryan has been chancellor since October 2003 at UNO, which has 11,724 students and 1,700 full-time employees. The state has cut $22.6 million from its budget since July 2008, but that has largely been offset by tuition increases.
Among those outside the news conference room was sophomore Vanessa Beasely of Hammond who said she was disappointed at Ryan’s departure, but said she planned to stay at UNO despite uncertainty over pending budget cuts and leadership.
“Students should stay here and fight for their school,” she said.