They’re shutting down a museum collection to make room for a larger gym for the track team. Here’s a letter sent out by involved faculty.
It is my sad duty to report to you that the ULM administration has decided to divest the research collections in the Museum of Natural History. This includes the 6 million fish specimens in the Neil Douglas fish collection and the nearly 500,000 plant specimens in the R. Dale Thomas plant collection. They find no value in the collections and no value of the collections to the university. The College was given 48 hours to suggest an alternate location for the collections on campus so that Brown Stadium can be renovated for the track team. With only about 20 hours left, we have found no magic solution yet. To add insult to injury on what was a very hard day, we were told that if the collections are not donated to other institutions, the collections will be destroyed at the end of July.
While we weep that our own institution would turn its back on 50+ years of hard work and dedication, we will not abandon the collections to the dumpsters. They did not have the courage to inform us face-to-face, but we have the courage to persevere through these dark times.
Oh, in other sad news, we were informed that there will not be any expansion of the public displays in Hanna Hall.
Do they even realize that a museum collection is an irreplaceable historical resource? Once it’s gone, there’s no way to decide to restore it at a later date, when funds become available. But they have short-sightedly decided that an academic treasure ought to be cavalierly discarded to benefit university sports.
Another problem mentioned at the link is that Louisiana has cut support to the university by 50%. It seems to me, though, that if you’re starving you pare away the non-essentials first, rather than critical resources. I guess ULM thinks their natural history museum is expendable, while their track team is not.