Louisiana college slashes student paper's funds to pay for new administrators

Southeastern Louisiana University will divert $150,000 from its student publications to its Title IX office.

The student paper will be online-only with the smaller budget and reduced personnel.

Southeastern Louisiana University will divert $150,000 annually from its student newspaper and yearbook office in order to fund new administrative positions in its Title IX office. 

The move comes at the expense of the print version of the student paper, which will now be published exclusively online. The student publications fee, for which students are charged $12 per semester, will be cut in half, and a $6 Title IX support fee will be added in its stead. According to the Louisiana Illuminator, the money will fund two Title IX positions at the expense of one job in the student publications office. 

"Over the last year, the campus paper has been delivered via email to faculty, staff, and students," Eric Summers, the university's vice president for student affairs, told Campus Reform. "Therefore, we are eliminating printing which produces savings and reduces the need for some support staff."

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University president John L. Crain requested permission to redirect the funding from the university system's Board of Supervisors. The Board's summary states, "Additional full-time staff will be hired to allow dedicated personnel to give the attention needed to the response and prevention of sexual assault and other power-based offenses."

Southeastern Louisiana University's Title IX hiring push follows the enactment of a new state law that places additional requirements on colleges when handling complaints of sexual misconduct. 

Beginning in 2022, the law will require "colleges to provide students information on how to prevent power-based violence and to issue annual reports that include statistics on complaints received, hearings held, outcomes of those hearings, and instances of retaliation. The law will also require colleges to appoint staff members as "confidential advisors," who will be trained to work with sexual assault survivors and inform them of their rights under the law. 

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The bill does not require the college to hire new administrators. To the contrary, the legislation mentions that people appointed as advisors may be "health care staff, clergy, staff of a women's center, or other such categories."

Southeastern's website currently lists two employees in the Title IX office. Meanwhile, the athletic department's website lists 98 staff members, not counting the 13 graduate assistants or the lead Title IX coordinator, who is also listed on that page. Among them are a Team Chiropractor, a Team Dentist, and a coordinator of the athletics nonprofit, whose title includes "Spirit Director."

 Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito