President's Address

Let’s get this out of the way before we go any further. Yes, today is April Fools’ Day. Yes, you’re going to read a lot of good news over the course of this newsletter. No, the good news is not part of some cruel April Fools’ joke on my part.

I mean I thought about it, but…

Looking at the calendar, I’ve essentially got less than three months left in the role of Staff Senate president. So, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel an urgency in getting two remaining things on my to-do list accomplished before my time is up—waiving LSU-controlled fees for staff taking courses and 100% free tuition for staff enrolled in LSU Online courses. I want to be able to tell you in the June newsletter that those are now non-issues, and the next Staff Senate president is free to take on other issues/challenges.

I’ve got a list of those, too, by the way, but they won’t be solved by June.

The headline from the last month is obviously the approval of the parental leave policy. Before I acknowledge all of the positives about this, the one thing I wish that could be fixed about this situation is the stress and anxiety individuals experienced while waiting for approval of the policy. I wish I could fix that part, somehow. BUT, this new policy is a huge lift to many soon-to-be parents, and the retroactive element will also help those who weren’t able to take advantage of it earlier this year. This is the type of thing that helps recruit and retain staff at LSU; the type of thing you’ve heard me and other Staff Senate presidents in the past say goes beyond merit raises (which we love and are important, obviously) and has a direct impact on quality of life for our employees. I’m talking about staff for obvious reasons, but this policy also has an impact on our faculty, and to that end, I want to thank Faculty Senate leadership for working with me on this to stress its importance and need to be approved and implemented. I also want to thank President Tate for approving the policy and Provost Haggerty for his work to help us see this through. I’m probably missing some people by name, but to any individual and/or unit on campus that also had a role in seeing this come to fruition, I thank you on behalf of all staff. That’s how important this is.

While I have my thanking cap on, I want to also express my gratitude to everyone who gave to either the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund or Staff and Faculty Career Excellence and Enrichment Award Fund (or both) as part of LSU Giving Day. This is only our second year participating in the event, but we raised $545 and finished No. 1 on the Giving Day Step-Up Leaderboard, which tracks the units and campuses with the highest growth percentage-wise in donors from Giving Day 2023 to 2024.

You should receive an email tomorrow from Staff Senate about our upcoming 2024 General Election. If not, be sure to check your junk folders (and then look at yourself in the mirror and ask how you could have let it go to your junk folder in the first place). I hope you will take some time to vote and help elect the staff senators who will be representing you over the next 1-3 years. The deadline to vote is April 15. This is also the part where I remind you that you don’t have to be elected to Staff Senate to be part of Staff Senate. Volunteer to serve on one of our committees or at one of our events. Those are great ways to put a toe in the water and figure out if it’s something you want to do on a bigger level.

I’ll close with the last bit of good news I alluded to earlier and that is our annual Staff Appreciation Week is back this year, April 22-26. We’ll kick the week off with a treasure hunt around campus, where actual prizes will be hidden in select locations, assuming the squirrels don’t carry them off first. This will be followed by our tailgate party before the LSU v. Nicholls baseball game on Tuesday; encouraging deans, directors, and department heads to show appreciation to their staff however they choose on Wednesday; a massive crawfish boil on the Parade Ground on Thursday; and a Happy Hour at the Lod Cook Hotel Bar on Friday to close out the week. Full details can be found in the newsletter and by clicking here.

I hope you’ll come to one or all of the events and say hi in person.

Take care of yourselves and each other.



Joshua Duplechain

Staff Senate President
Director of Communications
LSU College of Engineering