May 27, 2015 10:06 AM
The headline in the Daily Advertiser’s May 23 Letter to the Editor read, “House shows true leadership with HB 1.” The topic was passage of the sure-to-be-amended bill to partially fund what’s left of our higher system in the Great State of Louisiana.
Sandra Woodley

The letter was from Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System. The message that followed was remarkable.

In her opening paragraph, Woodley writes “... This week with the passage of House Bill 1, the House of Representatives showed all of Louisiana what real leadership looks like.”

Where it went from there is, at best, bizarre.

Woodley goes on to heap praise on House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, Ways and Means Chairman Joel Robideaux and Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin for “navigating a solution that was as complex politically as it was mathematically ... ”

While she’s right about the usual technical difficulties of passing funding legislation in the anti-tax crazed House, sadly, nothing else she says makes much sense.

The “solution” she referred to was the lege trio’s panicked, partial solution to new, vicious cuts proposed by Gov. Jindal to the state’s deeply damaged higher education system.

So, what’s wrong with her adulation of these legislative big shots?

Praising leadership that has presided over systematic budget destruction of our colleges and universities is more than just inappropriate. It’s plain wrong. But praise she does, causing us to consider President Woodley may be a victim of a psychiatric condition known as Stockholm Syndrome:
Stockholm Syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. (Wikipedia)
Woodley’s utterings do uncomfortably align with the condition Patty Hearst’s lawyers attempted to use to explain away the newspaper heiress’s sympathetic behavior to her captors in her infamous Symbionese Liberation Army trial a few decades ago. If you need a refresher, check it out here.

However, there’s time left. Let’s hope President Woodley will, through therapy — or newfound awareness — return sufficiently to reality in time to avoid similar behavior when our state senators undertake action compatible with HB 1.

Here’s our take. These guys she praised have done nothing worthy of praise. Kleckley, Robideaux and Fannin have presided over passage of legislation in previous sessions that gutted our illiterate state’s desperately important higher education system. Tragically, the hard work of previous state leaders painstakingly organized over the past few decades has been eviscerated by this Legislature and the men and women who lead it. It will take many years, maybe decades, to undo the damage they and our governor have done to higher education in our state. The faculty, reputation and infrastructure of our own UL Lafayette and flagship LSU have all been thoroughly wrecked by cowardice in refusing to stand up to Bobby Jindal and his personal guru, Grover Norquist.

Ms. Woodley, it’s contempt and outrage — not praise — that’s called for here. Patty Hearst recovered. You can, too.


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