Richard Lipsey

Richard Lipsey, longtime higher education leader and current Board of Regents co-chair, has joined Governor-elect John Bel Edwards' transition team as a voice for universities across the state.

The University has been no stranger to controversy in recent years. Greek Life, LSUPD and basketball coach Will Wade have been the most recent thorns in the University’s side. But none of these compare to the controversy around Richard Lipsey.

Lipsey should be known for serving as chairman of the Louisiana Board of Regents from 2016 to 2018. Instead, he has gained attention for constantly criticizing LSU President F. King Alexander.

The aftermath of the Wade incident has Lipsey calling for the job of Alexander and Athletic Director Joe Alleva. Lipsey’s nonsense and rhetoric has rained down on the University with little push back. Allow me to be the umbrella we desperately need.

Lipsey caught my attention in September 2018, when he blasted Alexander for lowering the University admissions standards.

“The higher standards have attracted better performing students and relaxing the minimum test score requirements could jeopardize the quality of student attending LSU,” Lipsey said. “He (Alexander) is opening the door for chaos.”

Lipsey’s academic rhetoric is highly offensive to the non-traditional student. Most non-traditional students are transfer students. Many transfer students, like me, had low ACT scores and were told they needed to first prove they were college material. Many of us went to community colleges and even walked out with a degree. When Lipsey talked about the “quality of students,” he spoke of his fear that non-traditional students like me would be accepted into the University. Alexander’s effort should be applauded rather than criticized.

Lipsey has used his self-created platform, Put Louisiana First, to criticize LSU President F. King Alexander. “It’s time to end the chaos at LSU and remove King Alexander and Joe Alleva,” Richard Lipsey wrote in an opinion column.

I respect Lipsey for trying to put Louisiana first in his own way, but it does not make it right. If you zoom in on a rainbow, you can easily miss all the colors it has. Lipsey’s column was completely biased because it fails to mention any good Alexander and Alleva have.

Alexander has been the president of the University since 2013. The University has made strong progress towards diversity and has increased the opportunity for students to get accepted into the University.

The last straw came when Lipsey called for Alleva to be fired. Out of all the problems the University’s athletic department has, Lipsey does not need to be one. When driving, the most basic rule to follow is staying in your lane. Lipsey doesn’t have the slightest clue as to what goes on in the sports world. His words will only cause more chaos and confusion.

Lipsey criticized Alleva for hiring Wade, but failed to mention the success of his unpopular football hire, Ed Orgeron. Many people felt Orgeron was going to be fired this year. Instead, he led LSU to their first 10-win season since 2013 and their first major bowl win since their national title in 2008. Alexander and Alleva may not be popular right now, but it does not mean their job should be on the line.

The fact is, Lipsey is not a part of the Athletic Department nor Alexander’s executive team. It is easy to say what needs to be done from the sidelines. Lipsey is nothing more than a disgruntled fan who is pretty good at using Google. If you haven’t learned for the Jussie Smollett case, it is not wise to convict someone in the court of public opinion.   

This University is not perfect. However, there is no telling how bad it would be if Alexander was not in charge. He has helped this University exceed all of my expectations. I’ve never been shy in calling out the Universities’ shortcomings in the past. But, the same goes for when the University does something well.

Lipsey is a plague trying to infect the goodwill of this University. Obviously, his mom never taught him, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”              

Donald Fountain is a 21-year-old mass communication sophomore from Saint Francisville, Louisiana.

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