The Southern University Board of Supervisors declared a financial emergency on the main campus Friday on a 14-0, with two members absent, vote after months of debating the issue.
The declaration of the emergency, called financial exigency, was made despite opposition from some faculty, students and alumni.
Southern Chancellor James Llorens and Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. made the exigency request a late addition to the meeting agenda.
They did so under the argument that staff layoffs did not save as much money as expected and that a voluntary faculty furlough plan ended up as a mess. They said exigency is needed to address recurring money problems and more quickly reorganize the university for the future.
In September, the Southern Board fell three votes shy of approving exigency, but four of the 16 Board members were absent at the time.
Declaring exigency allows the administration more leeway to lay off tenured faculty and ax academic programs.
Exigency is historically considered a serious blemish that could scare away current and potential employees and students. No public Louisiana university had declared exigency since the University of New Orleans did so after Hurricane Katrina.