Board of Supervisors Holds February Meeting
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Board of Supervisors began its February meeting with the swearing in of new member Jack E. Lawton. An oil and gas business executive, and native of Sulphur, Lawton will fill the remainder of the term of the late Benjamin Mount, who passed away in December.
Among the business at hand, the board ratified the proposed $21 million mid-year budget reduction ordered by the state in December 2011. The university’s share will be $8.1 million. Overall, LSU has seen a reduction in general state appropriations of $92 million since January 2009.
In an effort to help save the university money, the board approved a pilot procurement code, in line with the high-level autonomies provided to LSU by the GRAD Act. Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Services Eric Monday explained the 17-page document to board members, citing that, with common examples including lab gloves and toilet paper, the university could have saved up to $75,000 in the 2010 fiscal year under these rule changes.
“We’re just proposing what universities in 24 other states have, and that’s autonomy from their state procurement codes,” said Monday. “We want to drive competition from dollar one to get the best prices, and the focus that we have is to move from being transactional to not just tactical, but strategic.”
Monday explained that the pilot procurement code, which would be enacted in September pending approval from the Division of Administration and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, could save the university more than $20 million over five years.
Additionally, the board received a report from a working group established to explore organizational and collaborative changes within the system. Per the one-page report: “any improvements or changes in the LSU System organizational structure must reflect a long-range perspective that seeks to enhance the national and international competitiveness of the programs and units within the LSU System for years to come, and avoid negative consequences of reorganization.”
In a public comment, LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope called for the board to keep faculty at the university as engaged as possible in any reorganizational or budgetary discussions.
“We simply ask that you be what we in the faculty think that you are – defenders of this institution,” said Cope.
The board also approved a design for construction of gateway signage at the university, once funding is secured. The new signage would adorn the various entry points to campus, including a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Dalrymple, Lakeshore and Isaac Cline drives, as well as digital signage along Nicholson Drive.
Other actions of the board included:
• Approval of the following endowed professorships: the Ourso Professorship of Communication Studies in the E. J. Ourso College of Business for $60,000 and the Zaki Bassiouni Distinguished Professorship in Critical Thinking in the College of Engineering for $120,000.
• Approval of a request from LSU and the LSU Agricultural Center to merge the Department of Veterinary Science into the School of Animal Sciences.
• Approval of a request to merge the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science to form the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU.
• Approval of a recommendation to name the industrial safety laboratory within the College of Engineering the “Fluor Industrial Safety Laboratory.”
• Approval of a recommendation to name an office in the new Business Education Complex the “Rolfe H. McCollister, Sr. Office.”
• Approval of a recommendation to name the undergraduate admissions workroom in the new Business Education Complex the “William Edwin Montan Trust Workroom.”
• Approval of a recommendation to name the lobby in the new Business Education Complex the “Turner Family Lobby.”
• Approval of a recommendation to name the Reservoir Characterization Lab in the College of Engineering the “Chevron Engineering Reservoir Characterization Lab.”