Two years after F. King Alexander was chosen as president and chancellor of Louisiana’s flagship university, we can finally close the books on the search that led to his selection.
Most would agree that the LSU Board of Supervisors made a fine choice in 2013, but that doesn’t mean they went about it in the right way.
The board conducted what the courts found to be an illegal secret process based on the dubious claim that Alexander was the lone applicant for one of higher education’s marquee jobs.
When documents detailing the other finalists were released last week, they proved that the board’s “single applicant” case was a big lie. One of the contenders, R. Bowen Loftin, president of Texas A&M, wrote that he was “delighted to confirm my interest in the position.” Sounds like Loftin believed he was an applicant.
The board also saddled the university with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs in defending a public records suit filed by The Advocate and later joined by The Times-Picayune. LSU will owe about $38,000 in fees and court costs to the newspapers, plus whatever it paid to its own defense lawyers.
The students and alumni and faculty who love LSU deserve better from their board. The process that brought Alexander to campus ended successfully, but secret searches also ginned up Sean O’Keefe and John Lombardi.