BR.lsumandate.adv HS 045.JPG

Students walk past Tiger Stadium Tuesday afternoon, August 24, 2021, hours after it was announced that everyone 12 years of age and older attending an LSU football game this season would have to present proof of vaccination against coronavirus or a negative PCR test taken within 72 prior to entry.

The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday voted to waive students’ admission exam requirements for 2022-2023 school year and postponed a discussion and vote on a proposal to reconfigure faculty governing power.

The board waived standardized test requirements in December 2020 due to students’ lack of resources during the coronavirus pandemic. Because high COVID cases threaten schools’ ability to administer standardized tests, Friday’s vote to waive test requirements passed without dissent.

Ahead of an expected discussion on the role faculty members can have in school operations, rumbles of discontent emerged Thursday night when they learned the board would look to delete references to the Faculty Council from official board regulations.

Bob Mann, a mass communication professor, said he and several coworkers felt blindsided and asked for a delay and discussion.

All full-time professors are included in Faculty Council, Mann said, which means it has more than 1,400 members. This makes it nearly impossible for the group to meet on a regular basis, so the Faculty Senate, comprised of 61 members, represents the council.

Mann fears that if the board abolishes the Faculty Council, the power of the Faculty Senate and its executive committees will go unchecked.

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

“If faculty members don’t agree with the senate, the council can rein the senate in,” Mann said. “If the council is dismantled, we can’t assert faculty’s collective opinion about the senate’s decisions.”

Mann swiftly signed up to address the board Friday morning.

“If you assert that this is helpful for faculty,” Mann asked the board. “Why didn’t you include faculty in the decision?”

President William Tate IV responded directly to Mann. He said when he started as president, he noticed two groups that spoke for faculty. He said the board proposed the amendment to eliminate confusion about who speaks for faculty.

“I don’t think anyone has any intent on dissolving any type of governance function of the faculty,” Tate said. “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t work at an institution where faculty governance is not a primary part of what we do. I do think there is a greater need for clarity in this if I am going to govern with you.”

He agreed with Mann, saying that faculty should have been involved in drafting a resolution that reorganizes its powers, and he suggested the board delay a vote.

“We need to have a conversation with (faculty) about the design of this resolution,” Tate said. “I think if we do that, we’ll find ourselves in a better state in terms of trust and being able to govern together.” 


Email Caroline Savoie at CSavoie@TheAdvocate.com or follow her on Twitter at @CarolineSavo.