A.G. Monaco

The head of LSU’s human resources department stepped down and will retire after profanity-laden emails describing colleagues were made public Tuesday.

“A.G. Monaco has done a lot of good work on behalf of LSU,” said in a statement from LSU Interim Vice President of Strategic Communications Jason Droddy. “However, recent records requests caused LSU administrators to review Dr. Monaco’s emails and their tone. Rather than have the emails become a distraction from the good work that university staff is performing, Dr. Monaco decided to retire effective July 1, 2018, and to go on leave until that date.”

Assistant Vice Presidents Gaston Reinoso and Mimi Singer Lee will take over for Monaco in the human resources department until a successor is named.

In responding to a Feb. 1, 2017 email, in which Monaco boasted about being “caustic and insulting” to lawyers questioning him in a lawsuit, LSU President F. King Alexander wrote, “They asked me if I should remove you because you used the word ‘f**k’.”

King and Monaco were deposed in a legal action filed by a tenured professor who was fired for cussing in the classroom.

“My meeting with them was a bit of a brawl but in fairness I went into the day with a strategy to fight with them,” Monaco wrote.

Monaco said the lawyers in the deposition seemed to claim that Dean of the College of Human Sciences & Education Damon Andrew’s “religious fervor” led to the firing of an unnamed professor. And while he found Andrews “a bit pompous,” Monaco said he didn’t think personal feelings were involved in such a major decision.

In June 2015, the LSU Board of Supervisors had fired tenured Professor Teresa Buchanan, one of the nation’s top early education scholars, for using salty language in the classroom. LSU claimed “her use of profanity” as part of her teaching methodologies violated the university’s sexual harassment policies.

Buchanan challenged the firing in federal district court. Monaco was named as defendant in the lawsuit as was Alexander and Andrews. The case was dismissed in January. She has appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a law firm based in Washington, D.C.

In a Sept. 30, 2016 email to Daniel Layzell, who heads the university finance and administrative offices, Monaco called an unnamed LSU employee “a lying cheat.” She apparently had complained about the roll out of changes to the Workday system, according to the 12 pages of emails that were released publicly at the request of WAFB-TV’s investigation into Monaco’s handling of LSU Police Department employees.

In a February 2017 email to LSU Vice President Donna Torres, Monaco criticized then LSU Police Chief Lawrence Rabalais. “Apparently, the Chief is just a facilitator and the patrol officers are running that asylum,” Monaco's email said.

Rabalais retired later, some say forcibly, that year when the qualifications for the job were changed to require a college degree. In filling the slot, Monaco praised the strategy as an effective way to stifle media questions about the affair.

“Giving them all the resumes made the search look real good. Giving out the list of the qualifications we worked off of seems to have dispensed of the qualifications issues. Invoking Civil Services shut down a lot of questions. Finally our plan worked. Loved the part about the nationwide search. They kept calling with stupid questions but this time rather than saying f**k you, sticking with them worked,” Monaco wrote Dec. 23.

Before coming to LSU, Monaco had worked at The University of Akron, Southern Illinois University, and Oberlin College.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.