Loyal to Jindal, not students, LSU’s board must go

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By Robert Mann

Next January, after taking his oath of office and calling a special session to clean up Gov. Bobby Jindal’s fiscal mess, our next governor should immediately demand the resignation of every member of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Appointed by Jindal, the current board not only is unrepresentative of the state (14 wealthy white men and one black woman); its members also abdicated their duty to protect the school. They were silent as mice as Jindal pillaged LSU’s budget.

Like state Education Superintendent John White and some courageous members of the state’s Board of Elementary & Secondary Education, they could have protested Jindal’s misguided policies or publicly challenged his destructive acts. They might have threatened to resign in unison. They did none of that — and for their unforgivable omissions, they should go. All of them.

President F. King Alexander has waged a valiant fight for LSU’s future, as have University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley and some other college leaders. Alexander also has rightly prodded students to protest the threatened $600 million in higher education budget cuts. “Sometimes you don’t have to be so polite,” he told students earlier this month.

This past week at the Baton Rouge Press Club, Alexander repeated that admonition. So I tossed out this notion to him: It’s good for students to lobby legislators, many who are finally willing to raise taxes for higher education but whose legislation Jindal will probably veto. You have 15 bosses (the LSU board) who are close to Jindal. Why don’t they stop being so subservient and urge the governor to do more for higher education?

In response, Alexander shared an astonishing story that underscores my argument that this group must go. Alexander said that after he described the dire budgetary situation at the board’s January meeting, some alarmed members sought an appointment with Jindal. An LSU spokesperson told me that board members Ann Duplessis, James Moore, Raymond Lasseigne, Rolfe McCollister and Blake Chatelain joined Alexander for a meeting with Jindal on Feb. 4.

On its face, that’s a positive development. But step back for a moment and consider this disturbing scene: After five years of deep, damaging cuts, these board members apparently did not understand the serious threat to the university until Alexander made what one reporter described as an “impassioned speech — detailing the threat with campuses facing 40 percent reductions in state funding.”

Do they read the papers? Did they assume that Jindal also does not keep abreast of the news? I’m glad they privately urged Jindal to stop the cuts, but aren’t they five years too late? Speaking of little and late, good luck finding any LSU board member who has publicly condemned the looming demolition of Louisiana higher education.

Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.

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6 Responses to Loyal to Jindal, not students, LSU’s board must go

  1. Montague, Susan says:

    some stand up… some sit down
    s

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  2. Jim Mayer says:

    Please include removing Paula Pennington who is holding Pennington back in every way

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Michael H. Woods says:

    Bob- they also give nothing to LSU. They have no problem in giving away $2 million in unfunded scholarships., but look at the LSUAA reports, or LSU Foundation reports. They do not support LSU.

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  5. Milford Fryer says:

    John Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” LSU and Louisiana’s other public universities have been a major factor in the rising tide in the state, but Jindal and his wealthy cronies have a new take on things: sink the other boats and we’ll have the ocean to ourselves. Knowledge and intellectual pursuits are also under assault nationally by many of the extremists in the conservative movement because it conflicts with their notion about how things are. But Bobby got his education, sorry about yours.

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  6. Pingback: Is it Worth Fighting a Fight You’ll Probably Lose? | LA Higher Ed Confessions

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