Louisiana State University student body president J Hudson ignited a firestorm on Oct. 18 when The Keene Sentinel, a New Hampshire newspaper, published his letter pleading with Gov. Bobby Jindal to return to Louisiana to tackle the state's budget crisis. "Gov. Bobby Jindal is spending more time in your state than the one he was elected to represent," Hudson wrote, adding, "I read almost daily about his trips to other states, which makes me believe that he is more interested in running for president than running the state of Louisiana."
The timing of the letter — which was picked up by national news sources — couldn't have been more embarrassing for Jindal, who not only had been at the referenced campaign event in New Hampshire the week before but also was in Wisconsin stumping for GOP candidates the day Hudson's letter was published.
Hudson told CNN he had attempted to meet with Jindal to discuss higher education budget cuts, only to be rebuffed: "But a few days after that, I started reading he was in Florida, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin. No wonder he has no time, he's all over the United States and not in Louisiana."
State budget cuts at universities and colleges have totaled $280 million over the last two years. An Associated Press report estimated cuts over the next few years will run an additional $290 million.
In response, Jindal press secretary Kyle Plotkin said the governor had spent 90 percent of his time in Louisiana since being elected, and that Jindal aides had met with Hudson to discuss his concerns. The next day, in an attempt to reach out to college students online, Jindal set up a new Facebook page designed to solicit suggestions from, and create dialogue with, undergrads. "To Louisiana College Students: Our government is spending more than we can afford, and I believe our universities are delivering less value than you deserve," Jindal wrote. The title of the page? "More Value in Higer [sic] Education."
Jindal, a native of Baton Rouge, graduated from Brown University — an Ivy League institution — and was a Rhodes Scholar. — Kevin Allman