In one of the more depressing statements ever uttered by a public figure, Louisiana’s chairman of the Board of Regents warned the state that his time in office was likely to be rather grim.

According to an article by Mike Hasten in the (Monroe, Louisiana) News Star:

In his initial address as the new chairman of the Board of Regents, Bob Levy of Ruston cautioned board members that the lack of state finances for colleges and universities will force adjustment to a “new normal.” Operations of the past will have to be trimmed, Levy said.

“We have a mandate to think strategically but to work quickly,” he said. “We must be aggressive but not irresponsible. We have to be transformative in a way that both meets the short-term needs of a significantly reduced budget but also produces a higher education system that meets the demands of students and the work force across Louisiana for the long term.”

Well that’s very, um, pragmatic of him I suppose. But saying that the state legislature is simply not going to fund state colleges sufficiently is sort of like saying “the new normal” in U.S. defense policy is decade-long insurgency wars that we end up losing. I mean, sure it happens but that’s not normal; that’s called failure.

Louisiana “authorizes the Board of Regents to plan, coordinate, and have budgetary responsibility for Louisiana’s public higher education community, including 19 public colleges, universities, and/or professional schools.” That’s that the board does. Part of that means doing what it can to ensure that public colleges have enough money to operate effectively.

Levy took the oath of office yesterday. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer