Editor:

On the ballot Dec. 5, Amendment 1 gives Louisiana voters the opportunity to enhance the membership of our state’s four higher education management boards. The Lod Cook Act, passed unanimously in the recent legislative session, is named for an LSU alumnus who embodied service to his alma mater though he resided out of state. Had he been able to serve on the management board, his leadership and contributions to LSU and the state would have been immeasurable.

Currently, our four university management boards—Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Louisiana State University System, Southern University System, and University of Louisiana System—are made up of Louisiana residents with diverse interests and expertise. These boards set the strategic vision for the future and manage the operations of Louisiana’s colleges and universities, enriching our institutions with clarity of purpose.

Successful passage of Amendment 1 will broaden board membership through the appointment of up to two out-of-state residents to each management board. Our colleges and universities have alumni and leaders with ties to our institutions throughout the country and around the world. Ideal board members could offer suggestions on how to increase the value of degrees in the workforce, channel donations to help scholarships, and open doors for internships with leading national companies. Many of these prominent figures would contribute significant value and highly relevant global perspectives to our institutions. In fact, when you look at the makeup of higher education management boards nationally, you will find that 30 other states already permit out-of-state residents

to serve their higher education boards. We want our graduates to have every advantage to compete nationally.

Louisiana residents, those most vested in the work of our colleges and universities, will maintain board majorities. At least fourteen members—two from each of Louisiana’s congressional districts, one at large member, and a student board member—would all be Louisiana representatives. The remaining two at-large seats would only be appointed to an out-of-state resident under the recommendation of the board, approval of the governor, and confirmation by the Louisiana Senate.

Our colleges and universities are poised to create the most educated generation in this state’s history, a necessary outcome for Louisiana to be competitive nationally and globally. Louisiana’s future is determined by the readiness of its people. We need a citizenry, rooted in Louisiana, but prepared to thrive in the ever-changing 21st -century economy. As board chairs, we welcome the opportunity to invite a fresh perspective when appropriate.

Whether you early vote or vote on Dec. 5, we hope you will join us in voting yes to Amendment 1.

Sincerely,

Marty Chabert, Chairman, Louisiana Board of Regents

Paul Price, Chairman, Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors

Robert Dampf, Chairman, Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors

Domoine Rutledge, Chairman, Southern University System Board of Supervisors

Mark Romero, Chairman, University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors

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