Parents look at the cost of higher education and are increasingly unwilling to go into debt so that their offspring can major in the arts.
There simply are no jobs waiting at the end of four hard years.
There is no salary commensurate with the amount of student loan debt to be repaid.
So when the University of New Orleans looked around for budget cuts that had to be made to meet the drop in state tax income, they went to the places where the popular majors are not found.
UNO Press, has been laid off.
As expected, the students who worked with Mr. Lavender are up in arms, but they are an endangered species these days and the school's budget committee is not going to listen to their emotional pleas.
This is all about money. There simply is not enough of it to go around to satisfy everyone, so UNO makes cuts where it will be less painful.
Books of poetry? That's a luxury in these hard times. It's not likely that too many parents will pay tuition for a child who wants to be a poet. There's no financial future in it. You want to write poetry? Do it in your spare time, after you've finished your shift as a surgical nurse at the local hospital.
A novelist? Don't make Mom and Dad laugh. Study engineering or finance. A minor in English is fine for pursuing the arts, and UNO's directors know that they don't need an expensive press to attract students who are not there for an outstanding English department.
Money is tight and this is a time to pare down expenses. In a few years time, things will turn around and private donations will return. The budget crisis will ease.
Instead of protesting Mr. Lavender's firing, the students might consider protesting the lack of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Much needed income from the petroleum industry has been lost with the bans and regulations placed on off-shore drilling, and Louisiana is suffering for it.
An uptick in oil revenues would go a long way to restoring funding at UNO, and bring Mr. Lavender, and UNO Press, back.