LSU alumni are lining up in support of Roy King, the director of the Golden Band from Tiger Land, who was put on administrative leave pending an investigation last week.
About a dozen people on Monday morning delivered copies of a Change.org petition with more than 1,500 signatures to LSU President F. King Alexander, which called for the marching band director’s reinstatement. Alexander was not available to directly receive the petition, but the group passed it along to his staff.
Copies of the petition also were sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“Under the leadership of Roy King, we learned about team work, student leadership, musicianship, and how to represent our university with pride while having the time of our lives,” the petition reads. “Roy King has invested nearly 20 years of his life directing the Tiger Band, the same band that he served as drum captain during the 1980s, and LSU is better for it.”
Last week, King’s attorney Jill Craft said King is the victim of a money grab attempt by the LSU School of Music, which wants a share of the athletic funds dedicated to the Tiger Band.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said last week that the matter was unrelated to “any alleged dispute between Tiger Band and the School of Music.”
However, King supporters were in disbelief that the band leader would have acted in any way that would warrant his potential removal.
“Please don’t let financial strain and related politics cloud your judgment of this important leader in the LSU community,” the petition said. “I trust that you will do the right thing and affirm my pride in my alma mater by treating Roy King with dignity and fairness.”
King’s supporters included former band members, LSU alumni, fellow band directors from across the region and parents of Tiger Band musicians.
“He’d never do anything to hurt the band,” said Wayne Barrilleaux, who had two daughters and two son-in-laws who went through Tiger Band. Barrilleaux said he got wind of rumors last year that there was a fight over money brewing and that King’s job could be at risk.
“It’s ugly,” he said. “He doesn’t deserve any of this.”
Ballard said Monday the administration would not be offering any further comment.