By Robert Mann
Do LSU officials believe it’s humiliating if the folks back home learn that you’d like to be president of the Old War Skule?
Based on their public statements, seems so.
At least, that’s how university officials defend themselves against allegations that they violated the Louisiana Public Records Act when they searched for a new system president.
On Monday, after The Advocate and Daily Reveille editor Andrea Gallo sued LSU to open up the records of the secret search which resulted in last week’s coronation of King Alexander, a university official, Herb Vincent, told The Advocate:
“LSU believes the most effective search process for a significant position such as president or chancellor is one that maintains the confidentiality of the candidates. To do otherwise would limit the pool of potential candidates. Candidates for such positions in higher education typically prefer for their names to be held in the strictest confidence and LSU feels strongly it should respect those who were potential candidates for the position of LSU President and does not wish to cause them harm with their existing employers by revealing their names.
“To do so would severely inhibit LSU’s ability to identify top candidates in future searches, which does not serve the university or the people of Louisiana well in any circumstance. LSU firmly believes that Louisiana law does not require such unwise and unwarranted disclosure.”
Let’s put aside for now the dubious claim that LSU is not required to follow the state’s Open Records law because it’s “unwise and unwarranted.” (I didn’t know university officials had the authority to decide which laws they would follow.)
And let’s put aside the questions about whether LSU System officials — a virtually all-white-male board — bothered to interview any minorities or women for the job.
Let’s also put aside the fact that LSU is a public university, hiring the highest-paid public official in the state — all behind closed doors.
Is it really true that no qualified individuals would apply for the LSU president’s job if the folks back home could find out?
Is it true, as LSU officials have earlier suggested, that public searches in higher education are rare?
Well, it appears that the folks over at the LSU System office don’t understand that the rest of us know how to use Google. We can see for ourselves if what they are feeding us is true.
Turns out, plenty of public and private universities believe that potential applicants aren’t ashamed to see their names in print as candidates for top jobs at universities.
Below is a list I compiled in about 20 minutes, on Google, using the search terms “college,” “university,” “president,” and “finalist.”
It’s not rocket science, just a simple Google search.
Check out the hyperlinks below to see a list of the people who were not ashamed to apply for the president’s job at places like the University of New Orleans, Florida State, Tennessee State, the University of New Mexico, Iowa State, George Southern, the University of Wyoming, the University of Illinois, and the University of North Dakota, just to name a few.
- Will LSU’s new president speak truth to power? (bobmannblog.com)
- Student newspaper editor sues LSU governing board (wwltv.com)
- Bobby Jindal’s diversity problem (bobmannblog.com)
- Habemus Presidentum: Secretive LSU conclave picks a new president (bobmannblog.com)