Is LSU now bereft of imagination and innovation?

The LSU Board's approval of acting president Thomas Galligan's decision to remove Gen. Troy Middleton's name from the LSU Library and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ staunch support of the decision are sad examples of reactionary appeasement instead of real leadership. They have succumbed to the "search and destroy" mentality of understandably unhappy Black students regarding past injustice. Instead of working creatively to bring people together, Galligan's expeditious removal of the Middleton name from the LSU Library has further alienated many supporters.

What is so puzzling is the failure to undertake something positive to bring folks together instead of the negative action. As the new chancellor of the LSU Law Center in 1990, I found a Law Center that had recently been declared by a federal court to be "the most segregated law school in America" with few Black graduates and tiny Black enrollment. LSU and Southern Law were ordered merged into an entirely new law school by the court.

Immediately undertaking a major effort with innovative actions, LSU Law was integrated with positive actions that did not involve destroying or disparaging those who had gone before or excluding or damaging qualified White students. These efforts — fully supported by the LSU Board, governor and Southern Law and its alums — caused U.S. Judge Charles Schwartz to later reversed his merger order. From that beginning, many more African American lawyers or judges are LSU Law graduates.

Is it too difficult to expect positive action instead of negative reaction at LSU now?


professor of law emeritus

Baton Rouge