GRAMBLING, La (KNOE 8 News) - Grambling State University President Willie Larkin has requested a narrowly targeted state of exigency for the university’s undergraduate nursing program through summer 2016 and the authority to terminate members of the nursing faculty. The University of Louisiana (UL) System Board of Supervisors will consider the request at its next meeting on August 27, 2015 in Baton Rouge.
In June, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing withdrew conditional approval of Grambling’s undergraduate degree in nursing, which essentially closed the bachelor’s program, prohibiting Grambling from offering nursing classes or enrolling undergraduate students. Grambling’s master’s program in nursing was not affected by this decision. The nursing board also directed Grambling to create a transition plan for students to complete their studies at other institutions or transfer to another program at Grambling.
“I’ve been left with a difficult decision,” said Larkin, who assumed Grambling’s presidency on July 1. “It breaks my heart to have to make this decision, but, unfortunately, layoffs in the nursing program are unavoidable. There was no other viable solution.”
Larkin called the request for a declaration of exigency the “next logical step” resulting from the nursing board’s decision. Exigency is the mechanism that allows for the termination of faculty no longer required without classes to teach. Larkin met with nursing faculty earlier today to inform members of the likelihood of terminations and to answer questions.
“In my short time at Grambling, it has become apparent that this is a university that operates as a family. Situations like this are devastating for everyone, but especially those most directly impacted. All we can do is pledge our complete support. We know this will be difficult for those affected, and we plan to work with the faculty to provide transition resources and assistance,” Larkin said.
The nursing program has worked with students since the nursing board’s decision in June to help them transfer to other programs so they can complete their studies. Thirty-five students graduated from Grambling this summer after participating in a summer nursing course at Northwestern State University.
“We’re extremely grateful to Northwestern for assisting our students. They are still Grambling Tigers and always will be, but the help these students received will keep them on course for graduation and a career in nursing, and we greatly appreciate it,” Larkin said.
Larkin said the nursing program is vital to the future of the university, and that he has been encouraged by the nursing board’s willingness to work with Grambling as it develops a proposal for a new nursing program.
“We begin every day with the same purpose in mind: to build a strong future for our students. We know that the future begins here on this campus with the opportunities we create and the standards we set for ourselves. We’re committed to collaborating with others in the state and nation to better position ourselves and do what it takes to help Grambling students achieve, whether that’s in nursing or other academic pursuits,” Larkin said.
UL System President Sandra Woodley has pledged her support and the full assistance of system staff as the university movies forward. The UL System Board will take up Grambling’s request at its Aug. 27 board meeting in the Louisiana Purchase Room in the Claiborne Building at 1201 N. Third St. in Baton Rouge. The public is invited to attend.