On the heels of the LSU System Board of Supervisors ousting its former system president and watching LSU’s chancellor accept a position at another university, the board unanimously voted Friday to combine the system presidency and chancellorship. This is the first step toward tightening the LSU System into one cohesive university.
The resolution was proposed after representatives from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges presented a report depicting a scenario where the LSU System’s 10 institutions function more as a collective group than as the loosely bound collection they are now.
Some of the structural changes suggested show the LSU System having one president and an executive vice president and provost who presides over chancellors at the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, LSU-Shreveport, the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, LSU-Eunice and LSU-Alexandria.
“This crossover, pulling together the strengths... can produce a quality level multiplied ten fold,” said Thomas Meredith, senior fellow at the AGB.
AGB’s presentation also showed an LSU System with a uniform curriculum and a uniform application process for each university, though each school would maintain its own admissions standards.
“Students should have access to the resources of the people on every campus,” Meredith said.
While the board agreed they would have to further discuss the more dramatic proposed changes, the discussion of merging the system president and chancellor
position had been long discussed, and it was time to approve, said Hank Danos, chairman of the Board.
The vote to approve the consolidation of system president and chancellor comes at a convenient time when both positions are being filled by Interim System President and Chancellor William “Bill” Jenkins, who retired in 2007, but had held both positions before.
Jenkins took over as interim system president last spring when the Board voted to remove former System President John Lombardi from his seat. Jenkins added interim chancellor to his job description after former Chancellor Michael Martin announced he would leave the University to become the president of the Colorado State University System.
AGB’s report was a follow up to an initial report presented on Aug. 18 that depicted three situations for the LSU System — two of them included consolidating the system presidency and chancellorship.
Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope said he wasn’t happy with the lack of faculty input on the vote to merge the positions.
“We did not even know this resolution was going to be proposed,” he said.
A special board meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Nov. 2. at the LSU System Office to discuss further changes.