It's Time To End The Chaos At LSU and Remove King Alexander and Joe Alleva
unfortunate that the focus on leadership performance at LSU often only occurs regarding
athletics. We must get beyond the current controversy in athletics to see the
real problem at LSU. We need new leadership at the top. Both King Alexander and Joe Alleva were hired during the Jindal Administration. The new leadership at the Board of Supervisors has inherited this problem. They now must act quickly to remove Alexander and Alleva. This should be followed by the appointment of a strong interim LSU President and interim LSU Athletic Director not interested in a permanent position and the hiring of proven Flagship quality leaders through a national search.
In a 2013 vote of no confidence relating to the selection of King Alexander as President-Chancellor of LSU, the LSU Faculty Senate warned us that the 2013 board was making a mistake. They noted that graduation rates at the school Alexander left, Cal State Long Beach, were lower than those at LSU and that school had not reached the doctorate-granting level that LSU's Flagship Campus had achieved due to hard fought reforms. The LSU Faculty Senate also noted that King Alexander had never been a tenured full professor at a major research university. LSU's aspirations "to be recognized as one of the top research universities in the U.S. are inconsistent with the proposing by the LSU Board of Supervisors of a nominee for President-Chancellor who has never been a tenured full professor at a major research university," the resolution said.
When the decision to hire Joe Alleva as LSU Athletic Director in 2008 was announced, folks were similarly concerned. “Nan Keohane (Duke President) made a terrible choice when she selected Alleva as athletic director in 1998," wrote well-respected sportswriter John Feinstein in a 2007 column for the Washington Post. Fresh off the very public mishandling of the Duke Lacrosse scandal, somehow it was determined that Alleva was the best choice for LSU. Will Wade is the third basketball coach Joe Alleva has hired in just 10 years. Clearly it would be viewed nationally as insanity if Alleva were to continue as Athletic Director if Will Wade returns to coaching at LSU. In the much more likely event that LSU is now forced to hire a fourth basketball coach in eleven years, it would be viewed as more insane for there not to be a new Athletic Director in place to make the next hire. Either way, only the ultimate in denial will keep Alleva at his job, so there should be no delay in replacing him immediately with a respected interim like Skip Bertman. We cannot stop there. We must immediately remove the leadership of LSU responsible for and directing Alleva’s actions. As important as our Tigers are to us, the damage King Alexander is doing goes well beyond sports.
Sports are important for income, donations, and overall enthusiasm, but the overall status of LSU as a Flagship is much more important. Joe Alleva’s actions at Duke were predictive of the current issues in LSU athletics. His boss King Alexander’s lack of qualifications and lack of performance through his stay at Cal State Long Beach were predictive of damage he would do to our Flagship at LSU. As we move from one scandal headline to another, we have now passed the point where the Board of Supervisors must remove King Alexander and began the search for a qualified Flagship leader.
The latest example of Alexander's lack of leadership was the bizarre Alexander and Alleva joint official press release stating that holding out basketball player Javonte Smart “does not suggest, in any way wrongdoing”. Then what does it suggest? Why was it done? Clearly these folks are not ready to handle public relations for a high school, much less a internationally known Flagship. Sadly, there has just been so much more, and it’s time to end it now. In sports alone we have seen the disastrous leaked courting of Jimbo Fisher followed by the joint Alexander/Alleva bizarre 3rd quarter "unfiring" of Les Miles, the embarrassing Tom Herman football offer debacle, unnecessary and costly extensions and raises to several underperforming coaches and so much more. The incompetence has lead to dissatisfaction from major sports and academic donors that has severely affected fundraising. Only a few years ago LSU chancellor O' Keefe raised 786 million on behalf of LSU. The current leadership has reduced that to a relative trickle.
As students pay ever increasing tuition and fees to pay for 85 million in recreational expansion and a “lazy river”, the Baton Rouge Advocate recently revealed the following about the LSU Library: “When Gov. John Bel Edwards and a delegation of state lawmakers toured LSU’s Middleton Library earlier this year, they found a leaky basement, ragged furniture, bubbled and cracked wallpaper, rooms that flood so often from the rain that a vacuum is kept out to clean up the mess.”
The death of Max Gruver has now been followed by arrests of nine DKE members whose abuses were not dealt with by the LSU personnel whose job was to find them. They had to be exposed by national DKE officials not even on campus. The responsibility rests with King Alexander, whose own incompetence has been duplicated in many hires. Alexander placed Mari Fuentes-Martin over Greek life when she came from a campus with no Greek system. It was pointed out numerous times during the search process that hiring someone who had no experience with a Greek system to run student affairs at a university with a large Greek system was a serious mistake. These are much more serious matters than sports. These matters involve systematic criminal abuse, physical, and mental damage. Alexander’s administrative hire Kurt Kepler left January 15 only to be replaced by Maria Fuentes-Martin who herself was suspended less than a month later with other top administrators. Then the suspended administrators were “fully exonerated” by this regime within weeks. The administration is still claiming that the report "fully exonerating" these employees was all verbal so they can refuse to tell media and the public what happened. Anywhere else this would be unbelievable, but it is completely unacceptable.
The Board of Regents has also approved an audit regarding King Alexander's unilateral and undisclosed changes to admissions practices at LSU that we exposed in August following media reports. These subjective standards he has unconstitutionally launched lack needed transparency and objective audit points. The recent major national news story involving bribery by some of the most powerful and wealthy at universities across America shows why objective standards are required. It is clearer than ever that that such subjective practices open the door for corruption and undue influence. Children of major donors or with political influence can now be admitted to LSU based on a subjective review of an essay and their "personal qualities" by LSU staff. This subjective review makes it impossible to question admissions decisions that may be completely inappropriate. It opens the door to corruption and undue influence.
King Alexander had no experience appropriate to his selection to run a major research university with a large Greek system and top tier sports programs. LSU will continue to face these problems and headline after headline until we have quality leadership at the top. We call on the new leadership at the LSU Board of Supervisors to quickly remove King Alexander and Joe Alleva form their current positions and replace them with nationally recognized interims while appropriate permanent leadership is selected. Many qualified folks are available for these interim roles. Whatever the choices are for interims, both Alexander and Alleva must now be removed.
Put Louisiana First