Officials Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center have taken the step of placing hundreds of workers on indefinite furlough, in an attempt to narrow the school's multimillion dollar deficit, one of the many effects of Hurricane Katrina.

"No one ever thinks that financial exigency will ever happen to an institution," Arthur Haas, chairman of the LSU Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, told The Scientist. "This is a really unfortunate situation."

William Black, director of research and governmental accountability in the Louisiana division of administration in Baton Rouge, said furloughs were not the same as layoffs, and furloughed faculty might be recalled if money comes in. But he did not know when LSU may be able to ask them back—if ever. "Their capacity to earn their revenue has been greatly reduced," he said.

Charles Zewe, vice president of communication and external affairs for the LSU system,...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?