10.15.18 Press Club

LSU President F. King Alexander speaks to the Baton Rouge Press Club in the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.

While students attended classes Monday morning, LSU President F. King Alexander met with the Louisiana Board of Regents’ leadership to discuss admissions policies and the University’s role in creating them.

The University’s shift to “holistic” admissions for the 2018-19 academic year ignited a public debate over the Board of Regents’ responsibility to create admissions standards for public universities across the state. The Board of Regents first created admissions standards in 1991. Alexander did not consult the Board of Regents or the LSU Board of Supervisors before implementing holistic admissions.

In Monday’s meeting, the University agreed that the Board of Regents makes admissions policies, such as the minimum admissions standards for applicants. The Board of Regents will also continue their audit of university admissions across the state.

The audit will measure compliance with the Board of Regents' 2005 admissions standards that focused on enrolling students at institutions where they could be most successful. Four percent of the University’s incoming freshman class is allowed to not meet the board’s admissions requirements of an unweighted 3.0 GPA and a 22 ACT score.

The University’s newfound understanding of the Board of Regents’ role in admissions policy starkly contrasts their recent dialogue on the issue. In an Oct. 15 speech to the Baton Rouge Press Club, Alexander called the Board of Regents’ exception rule a recommendation, saying he is still trying to figure out why the numbers exist in the first place.

“It’s a recommendation from the Regents,” Alexander said. “It’s fluctuated with years. This isn’t even our largest year, we have had years where we have had many more exceptions back in 2012 and last year. It never really came up as being something. I’m still trying to figure out why those numbers exist in the first place.”

This fall, the University had 433 total exceptions, 7.5 percent of the freshman class.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards quickly intervened into the public fight, calling for greater communication amongst the University and the Board of Regents.

“These conversations need to be taking place between LSU and the Board of Regents, and I guess all of our systems,” Edwards said in an email to The Advocate. “We need to be sitting down and doing this collaboratively and not playing it out in the press.” 

Edwards got his desired meeting on Monday, and with it, University concessions to the Board of Regents’ powers. The board’s admissions audit will commence in January 2019 and conclude in May or June later that year. Monday’s meeting signaled a step forward for the opposition to holistic admissions, but ultimately the permanence of the policy rests with the final results of the admissions audit.

"There was a meeting today with members of both boards (Board of Regents and LSU Board of Supervisors), and we agreed to work collaboratively," said LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard.

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