The head of LSU, John Lombardi, is expected to be fired Friday afternoon when the Board of Supervisors meet, a member of board said Friday morning.
The often-combative president of the LSU System was visited Thursday morning by three members of the board that oversees management and policy for LSU colleges and hospitals, said Alvin Kimble, a board member from Baton Rouge.
Lombardi did not respond phone message and emails last night and this morning.
Political pressure from the Jindal Administration is behind Lombardi’s ouster, Kimble said. “John is very single-minded; he does what he thinks is best for the university without having any concern for the politics... He hasn’t made friends with the administration.”
Kimble said he expects most of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s appointments to the board will not support Lombardi’s termination, while most or all of Jindal’s appointees will vote to remove him.
The Board of Supervisors of leadership approached Lombardi Thursday and asked him to step down, Kimble said. “They told him they had the votes to fire him if he didn’t resign.”
The Louisiana Flagship Coalition of statewide business leaders that formed last year to support LSU, told Lombardi four months ago they wanted him gone, Kimble said.
“The Flagship Coalition wanted to be more in control of what’s going on. They told John he needed to go,” Kimble said.
Sean Reilly, the coalition’s chairman, however, denied Kimble’s claims Friday morning.
“We haven’t been engaged in the personalities as in who should be the chancellor or who should be the president,” Reilly said. “We’ve stayed out of it, that’s not our job.”
If Lombardi is fired Friday, Reilly said he hopes the board starts a national search for a replacement immediately.
“I hope they get a first-rate interim,” Reilly said.
LSU Student Government President Cody Wells, on Friday morning, that he supports Lombardi’s firing.
“Obviously I have no authority over John Lombardi’s employment over the system, or else he’d have already been fired,” Wells said Friday morning. He’s been supportive of shifting money away from the LSU Baton Rouge campus, Wells said.
“Lombardi, in my opinion, uses the flagship as his piggybank,” Wells said.
In criticizing Lombardi, Wells zeroed in on a comment he said the system president made years ago.
“John Lombardi said he’s driven around campus and seen all the Mercedes’ and Lexus’ and the other fancy cars and he believes because of that LSU can afford to pay higher tuition rates.” Wells said. “Just because our student body are high-achievers and are academically superior to the student bodies of other institutions, John Lombardi believes we should pay more.”