LSU President (and BR campus chancellor) Bill Jenkins calls the idea “crazy.” A few of my friends scoffed at the idea that Jindal cares that much about LSU to try to install his own person in the job.
Despite hearing from a variety of people that Moret is, indeed, interested in the position, I had begun to doubt my instincts and my sources. Perhaps the fact that Jindal now controls the LSU Board of Supervisors — and its interim system president — means nothing. After all, Jindal seem to care very little about LSU. He went to Brown University and he’s slashed the budget of the main campus in horrendous ways in the past three years. Why would he really care who’s running the system?
Then, I recall that Jindal fired LSU President John Lombardi. And he made life so unbearable for Mike Martin that he quit the chancellor’s job and left last month for Colorado.
Now comes news on Friday that Jenkins and the LSU Board have fired the one person in the System Office building willing to speak truth to power. (Why didn’t I see that one coming?) That would be Dr. Fred Cerise, the former Louisiana Health and Hospitals secretary, who has run the LSU Health System since 2008.
As Gannett News Service reporter Mike Hasten observed in a story today, “Knowing the truth about the plight of the LSU Health System and being willing to speak out about it set Dr. Fred Cerise free from his position as head of the 10-hospital system. Cerise joined a growing list of administrators who have been fired after not following the party line drawn by Gov. Bobby Jindal.”
And if you doubt that Jenkins and the Board were following direct orders from the Governor’s Office to fire Cerise, consider this statement issued by Jindal’s press secretary, “That’s a decision for the board and the LSU System president. With the changing environment in health care today, LSU’s health system needs a leader who can implement reforms that deliver services more efficiently.”
Translation, “We don’t want our fingerprints on this, but Bobby’s happy that Cerise is gone, because the good doctor wasn’t willing to cheerfully carry out our draconian plans to lay waste to health care for the poor.”
I won’t enjoy telling my friends, “I told you so,” when Moret get the LSU president’s job.
But if you think that Jindal isn’t already fully in charge of LSU, I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.