The LSU Board of Supervisors and the Presidential Search Committee are currently in the process of finding a permanent executive figure for the University.
Their decision will decide the trajectory of the University for the foreseeable future. Due to recent events, the search process is under more intense scrutiny from the public than in previous decision periods -- but Interim President Thomas Galligan will hold up to the scrutiny and ought to retain the position in a permanent capacity.
The months following the College Football National Championship Game have not been easy to navigate, as they have presented a series of incredibly challenging and very public circumstances for the University.
The world is grappling with the reality of life during a pandemic and political tensions have divided the country. Protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others have sparked up across the country including on our very own campus. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the University has transitioned to a hybrid-learning format while attempting to address student concerns throughout.
Life outside of the University has not been the only difficult aspect of Interim President Galligan’s tenure. The USA Today report that uncovered mishandling of sexual assault cases by the University administration has placed a national light on issues that have plagued our school for decades.
Galligan has made mistakes, but he is the man for the job. The interim president’s time here has been marred by PR issues and a failure to effectively communicate with student interests, but that hasn’t stood in the way of meaningful progress and development.
Galligan is the former Dean of the LSU School of Law where he took over in July 2016. His time at the Law School was marked by growth and resourceful decision-making. Galligan’s connection and history at the University provide a viewpoint based on experience.
No one could be expected to handle this tumultuous time without looking somewhat bad or making mistakes along the way. The important part of Galligan’s time here has been his ability to adapt. Proactive behavior is always desired but not everything can be anticipated. Galligan has navigated the last few months with tact and a willingness to change.
The future is full of uncertainty. Vaccine announcements have inspired hope for a future living with COVID-19, but the pandemic is not yet tamed. The University's history of racism and complicit behavior with oppressive systems has come to light with renewed public attention on systemic injustices. The investigation regarding the handling of sexual assault cases will hopefully end with the removal of all related parties and mark the start of a new era for the University.
Our university is at a crossroads.
The next permeant president will dictate how our University handles the all-important issues. The right person will be willing to look forward to what our school can be and not to what it has been. Interim President Galligan is willing to make the changes necessary to see LSU succeed.
Cory Koch is a 21-year-old political science senior from Alexandria.