I am writing in response to Mark Ballard’s March 10 article about the LSU Foundation, and the resulting letter to the editor on March 20 by Michael Woods. It is true that LSU is trying to hire a CEO of the LSU Foundation that will also hold the public position of LSU vice president. However, Mr. Woods’ claim that LSU is trying to operate outside of the law is blatantly untrue. LSU brought this situation to the State Ethics Board specifically to ensure that it did not violate the law. LSU has also been very public about this plan to change the structure of the CEO/vice president position, discussing it openly at LSU Board of Supervisors meetings and with the press off and on for the past four years. This openness is hardly indicative of one who is trying to “skirt the law.” Mr. Woods also implies that LSU is trying to make this change, in part, to allow the Board of Supervisors to take funds donated to one LSU entity, such as LSU-Shreveport for example, and give them to another LSU entity. Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole point of energizing fundraising at LSU is to engage alumni and other donors in advancing all of LSU through philanthropy. Absconding with donors’ monies and repurposing the funds would hardly suit that purpose. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We want to open all avenues of giving to donors, so that they may give to the campuses, colleges or divisions that are important to them. Donors give to LSU because they value the university's impact on them, their careers, and their families. We will honor our donors and their wishes — as we always have. To do otherwise would be wrong and only harm LSU. This is, in fact, a new era in higher education funding. The state of Louisiana’s funding for all LSU campuses has dropped by 50 percent in the past nine years. Private funding is now a must, and LSU is trying to control its own destiny with this change. We are, and plan to continue to be, a source of great pride to our alumni and donors. We have nothing to hide.
interim president and CEO, LSU Foundation