Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I saw that, a few months ago, someone asked if anyone could say anything positive or negative about LSU English to help them make their decision. I can't, in good conscience, continue to avoid sharing my experiences at LSU in the event that I might be able to dissuade students with other options from attending.

I'll jump right in.

Attending LSU for English is probably the worst decision I have ever made for a number of reasons.

1--cronyism and favoritism is the order of the day. All decisions for favors, decent classes, good schedules, awards etc. are determined by whether or not you are liked by the current administration and staff people. This includes basics like getting the admin. assistant to enroll you for required hours so that you'll carry the correct number of hours to remain a TA. There is a list of people (physical list) showing who is liked and who is blacklisted from decent class schedules.

2--admin and staff (and yes, sometimes other graduate students) are openly abusive via email and sometimes in person. If you are sensitive or can't handle abusive language from your superiors, avoid this department. You shouldn't have to put up with abuse or end up in therapy or on pills or whatever because of the cruel culture of your PhD program.

3--racist, sexist, etc. Part of #2 encompasses the blatant racist, classist, and sexist culture of the department. In fact, at the end of last semester, a group of graduate students finally felt they had had enough of LSU English's racism, sexism, ableism, and every other form of discrimination you can possibly imagine and sent out an email manifesto to the entire department demanding change. A series of meetings with the Diversity Provost were held and I'm sorry to tell you, nothing has changed, and it won't change. Racism and other forms of discrimination are too deeply embedded in the department culture. I'm also sorry to say that the other graduate students take part.

4--not a single school year goes by that the department doesn't threaten to take our paychecks or tuition remission away from us. They find ways to justify it each time. If you are independently wealthy, are supported by your parents, or are not supporting your own family/children, this may not matter to you, but it causes stress to everyone else.

5--LSU (the university) has been the recipient of deep, deep cuts from the state each school year. That alone would make me too scared to begin a program here now, just aside from the problems in the English department.

6--Generally disgusting state of the actual building. This might be minor, but Allen Hall (English building) is regularly infested with rodents and cockroaches and floods often. Allen Hall is not ADA compliant, either--FYI

In general, I do not have a single positive thing to say about LSU English. People are cruel, vindictive, a student has almost no recourse, and nothing ever changes. Also, if you are Rhet/Comp, avoid. The Rhet program has been killed. They claim to have one, but all the faculty are on the point of retiring and no attempt to hire new faculty is made. If it helps you to know this, multiple English graduate students have, in recent years, died here from substance abuse. These students were the victims of cruelty and bullying. The graduate student culture is built on bullying--people here are not friendly. Maybe these issues are all common to graduate programs, but my other friends in English across the country have no stories like these. You might think I'm simply a malcontent or had a unique bad experience, and I don't care if that is what you think--everything I've said is true.

I hope this helps your decision.

Edited by CFraser
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the heads-up alert! 

I hope I can also know more about these "unspeakable secrets" in other English programs in case I dive into a wrong place... I know graduate experience might vary, but I am trying to avoid possible down-drags that'll make me-- a woman and person of color-- an easy victim. I haven't experienced such a personal assault myself, but I've witnessed something similar happened to one of my TAs. Finally she had a mental breakdown and left (or she was forced to leave, I don't know). 

As for #4 and #5, should I still be worried about unexpected financial burden even if the program offers a 5-year financial package to every admitted applicant? 

Any suggestion and alert would be appreciated!


Edited by cloudyword
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi cloudyword -- I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That sort of thing happens at LSU -- as a matter of fact, a marginalized student left this year for the reasons I listed, like your friend's situation.

To your question, do you mean funding at LSU specifically? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.