Alexander tells of his troubles at LSU to international higher ed magazine

F. King Alexander is taking his media campaign against LSU to a global audience.

In a story published today in the London-based Times Higher Education, Alexander details his six-year struggle as president of LSU with a university culture that he says valued student athletics and white exceptionalism over academics and equal opportunity.

As he did in a story earlier this spring in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Alexander attributed his unpopularity in the later years of his tenure at LSU to his decision to implement holistic admissions standards on campus, which increased student diversity.

“What I ran into by doing that was that the old LSU—the old, white LSU—saw that their university was changing and looking more like the rest of the country, in Louisiana, and they went nuts,” Alexander told THE, which has an estimated 380,000 weekly readers worldwide. “(They) were OK having the diversity exceptions as long as they could play football and basketball and entertain them like the Roman Colosseum. But if you didn’t throw a football or dunk a basketball, then we really didn’t want you at the University.”

Alexander’s campaign to disparage LSU in higher education circles began in March, after he was forced to step down from his more recent position as president of Oregon State University due to fallout from LSU’s Title IX scandal.

The OSU community blamed Alexander for the way LSU mishandled complaints of sexual violence and misconduct against student athletes, detailed by USA Today and Husch Blackwell, even though Alexander, ironically, established LSU’s Title IX office shortly after his 2013 hiring.

He has since tried to salvage his reputation by arguing that he could only do so much while at LSU because of the ingrained culture and political meddling of the board.

The article notes that Alexander’s allegations of institutional racism at LSU have been somewhat undercut by the recent hiring of his permanent replacement, William Tate, the current provost at the University of South Carolina, who will be LSU’s first Black president.

“Our culture seems to have shifted very rapidly since Dr. Alexander’s departure,” former LSU Faculty Senate President Ken McMillin told THE. “Even if this is just a token step, sometimes it takes token steps in order to make any progress.”