Interim Interview

A gavel lays on a coffee table in the LSU President's office on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 during an interview with Interim President, Tom Galligan at the University Administration building on LSU's campus.

I respect Interim President Tom Galligan and how he has stepped up after the departure of former University President F. King Alexander. He has, to the best of his abilities, done what is expected of someone in his position.

I do wonder, though, when this position will be filled permanently — and what exactly is slowing down the process.

Since Alexander left office in late 2019 and Galligan replaced him, the University has been experiencing anything but stability.

Hurricanes and ice storms ravaged our campus, causing it to repeatedly shut down for days at a time. The pandemic caused a huge shift in health and safety procedures and changed the way classes, organizations and events operate both on and off-campus.

Tiger Stadium, once filled to the brim with purple-and-gold-blooded LSU fans, now lays fairly empty on game days. Classes that were once a melting pot of students from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences have now been reduced to names scattered across a screen with cameras off and microphones muted.

Lately, the University has made headlines again, but for the wrong reasons. Students are angry at how the administration has handled sexual assault allegations on campus. They seek true accountability and changes to the culture here at the University.

Some stability would be nice.

In the midst of all this, Tom Galligan has done his best to inform students of everything going on. As interim president, he could have easily taken a back seat approach to the whole thing and pawned it off on the next person in office.

Full disclosure: I have no idea what it takes to run a University. I barely know how to properly use my toaster oven without turning my bread into two lumps of coal.

I have confidence in campus leaders and trust their authority. I have faith that they will keep proper watch over me and my peers. But right now, we just don’t have that one person who will stand for us.

We lack the stability that a full-time University president would give us. As interim president, Galligan has done all he can, but we can’t blame him for the current state of the University or expect him to do any more than he already has.

Any policy he sets is temporary. Any real changes can potentially be undone immediately after the permanent position is filled. Any problem he chooses to attack will be a process that can be interrupted at any time.

We need a leader who will step up and take control now, not someone who will sit back and wait for all the allegations to go away and things to go back to normal. We need someone who is willing to step in and face all of these problems head-on. Someone who will listen and come up with solutions. Someone who wants the responsibilities and not just the title.

A true leader steps up when they are needed the most. The question is: who is going to step up for this university right now?

To my knowledge, there isn’t really a University president transfer portal like there is in sports. There isn’t a line of people knocking on Mike the Tiger’s glass asking for his blessing to run the University.

But I personally believe in giving Tom Galligan a shot.

He has been with the University since things started going downhill. I know little of his previous positions and accomplishments but I do know that he hasn’t abandoned us yet, despite everything.

I feel it is only fair. Give him the keys to this University, because only then, with the president position permanently filled, can we move forward as a student body and fix what needs to be fixed.

Anthony Bui is a 21-year-old English junior from Opelousas

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