The director of UNO Press, the University of New Orleans’ ambitious, nationally regarded book publishing venture, will lose his job in the current round of state-mandated budget cuts for public universities in Louisiana.
Professor Bill Lavender, who also led UNO’s Low Residency MFA and Creative Writing Program, confirmed on Friday that his position at the press has been eliminated. Lavender was the sole employee of the press, which he operated with a staff of four graduate assistants. News of his departure spread on the internet Thursday as authors and students began a petition drive in support of the ousted writer. Lavender also lost his position with the university’s writing program for MFA students who did much of their work online and met with faculty during brief, intensive residencies.
UNO spokesman Adam Norris declined to comment on changes at the press and in the MFA program, noting that the school is still formulating its budget plans and expects to make formal announcements about cuts in the coming week.
The fate of the publishing venture remains unclear, Lavender said