The LSU Board of Supervisors has pushed up its regularly scheduled April 30 meeting by nearly three weeks—to April 10, a Saturday—giving rise to some speculation that perhaps the board will be presented with a slate of finalists in the ongoing president’s search.
But university officials say the decision to reschedule the meeting to a rare weekend day earlier in the month is “related to Title IX responsiveness.”
Specifically, the board will get an update from the new interim vice president of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX on the state of the university’s new Title IX action plan, board executive director Jason Droddy says.
The board last met March 5, when it received a scathing report from Husch Blackwell on the university’s ongoing mishandling of sexual assault and misconduct complaints. In the days that followed, the administration unveiled an action plan designed to improve how LSU responds to Title IX complaints and created the new Title IX office that, for now, is headed by an interim vice president, Jane Cassidy.
The board also created its own committee on Title IX compliance that will help oversee implementation of the action plan.
As for the presidential search, there’s been no update on the search committee’s progress for weeks and sources familiar with the situation say LSU’s ongoing scandals have had something of a chilling effect on efforts to attract top candidates.
The committee last met in January, when it set a March 15 tentative end date for accepting applications for the position.
At the time, a consultant with Parker Executive Search, which has been retained by the board to help in the search, reportedly said they were in the aggressive outreach and recruiting of candidates stage.
It is unclear if the deadline for accepting applications has passed.
Meanwhile, prominent LSU donors including Richard Lipsey, a former chair of the Louisiana Board of Regents, are urging the board to recruit a national leader, rather than someone from within the state.
Through his 501(C)4 organization Put Louisiana First, Lipsey recently released a statement calling on taxpayers to encourage the board to “have the courage to avoid any political influence. Ask them to have the determination to select new LSU leadership that will be recognized internationally as a clearly qualified and outstanding choice. If we seize this historic opportunity to select an outstanding LSU President, this moment of reckoning with hurtful failure can result in a legacy of excellence and greatness that will be recognized for years to come.”