C'est What? Jindal strong-arms higher ed

by Heather Miller

In exchange for this good treatment, the administration would appreciate ... all units of higher education respond[ing] in the same generally positive and supportive way to the Administration's efforts.'

LSU System President John Lombardi, the very vocal leader of a system that oversees 11 higher ed institutions in the state, is apparently pleased with Gov. Bobby Jindal's treatment of higher education money in next year's budget - so pleased he's asking other LSU System officials to keep quiet on the budget unless they've got something nice to say about the governor's plans.

The Times-Picayune reports that Lombardi, in an email sent to several system executives, asks - on behalf of Jindal - for the LSU System to give unified support for the governor's higher education budget and embrace his proposal to reform state pensions.

Also included in the email is a request from Lombardi and Jindal that "all units of higher education respond in the same generally positive and supportive way to the Administration's efforts" in order to "avoid significant loss of funding from the all funds budgets of higher education institutions:"

The email, sent hours before the Joint Budget Committee convened and later obtained by The Times-Picayune, offers an inside view of the political machinations that precede the public budget process. And it parallels Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater's emphasis that the budget "protects essential services" in higher education and health care.

It's the same budget framing the administration used in recent years to say they protected higher education while using grants from the 2009 federal stimulus act to prop up colleges and universities. But Lombardi did not complain, and he suggested that Jindal expects the entire higher education hierarchy to follow suit.

"In exchange for this good treatment," Lombardi wrote, "the administration would appreciate" it if higher education leaders "recognize that the budget gives higher ed special treatment and thank the administration for their attention and concern for higher ed."

C'est what? Read the full story, including the email from Lombardi in its entirety, here.