We thought we were finally done hearing about, thinking about, caring about or even noticing F. King Alexander, the feckless incompetent who spent six years plunging LSU into the social justice muck while serving as its president. But unfortunately, Alexander simply will not go away.
And for some reason Louisiana’s media continues to inflict him on us. Perhaps that’s how desperate some of these people are to attract an audience.
Jim Engster, the partisan Democrat Baton Rouge radio host who also owns Tiger Rag Magazine, which covers LSU sports, had Alexander on his show yesterday for an hour. And Alexander decided he would air all the dirt he could against the LSU Board of Supervisors who forced him out…
Former LSU President F. King Alexander says the Monday night meeting in April 2019 at Juban’s restaurant, at which key members of the LSU Board of Supervisors informed him they had reached a deal to hire Scott Woodward as athletic director, was one of the most egregious violations of university policy he’s ever seen.
The meeting, which Alexander first detailed in late March toThe Chronicle of Higher Education, was convened by then-current board leaders who laid out the terms of the deal—writing Woodward’s new salary on the back of a cocktail napkin—and told Alexander he would have to fire existing Athletic Director Joe Alleva first thing Tuesday morning.
“I call it the Monday night massacre,” Alexander said in a wide-ranging interview this morning on the radio show Talk Louisiana with Jim Engster. “It violates university policy, accreditation standards, to have a small number of board members—without the others knowing—that they had worked out a deal and … were paying him substantially more than we were paying Alleva …. I had never experienced anything like it in 20 years as a public university president. To replace the athletic director without myself or anyone on my staff knowing about it is quite an extraordinary intrusion into university governance and shared governance.”
Alexander might actually be right about how Scott Woodward was hired. Except here’s the thing – had it not been for Alexander’s astonishingly putrid leadership across the board, the Board of Supervisors wouldn’t have been stepping in to do things like throwing money at Woodward and forcing Alleva out.
And if Alexander thought it was so horrible for them to go over his head to hire Woodward, then he should have resigned. Which he did later, after they invited him to find another job – always the careerist, F. King Alexander essentially ignored his job at LSU and went hunting for a new sucker to take him on, and once he found one at Oregon State he lit out.
But he’d left a nice little trail of destruction behind in Baton Rouge by then…
In the nearly hourlong interview, Alexander defended his six-year tenure at LSU, which has come under intense scrutiny since details of the way the university handled Title IX reports of sexual misconduct and violence surfaced, first in the national media and, in early March, in a report prepared by the Husch Blackwell law firm.
That report cost Alexander, who left LSU at the end of 2019, his most recent position as president of Oregon State University.
Alexander says he is proud of the tough decisions he made at LSU to investigate Title IX complaints and noted that he established the Title IX office. He also defended the actions he took against the university’s Greek system, which he has said caused pushback from prominent LSU alumni.
“There was a combination of misbehavior that the fraternity system felt immune to understanding … so we had to shut down all social activities in the Greek system … to reeducate the Greek system and Greek leaders that we’re taking these issues seriously,” he says. “We didn’t have an anti-Greek approach to this. We had an anti-sexual assault, anti-drug abuse, anti-hazing approach to this.”
What he had was a couple of fraternities and sororities who had broken some rules, including a really terrible incident involving psychotics at the Phi Delta Theta chapter who killed a pledge by making him drink Everclear after he was baked to the gills on weed. Those malefactors needed to be dealt with; instead, Alexander wiped out practically the entire Greek system on campus, which he did for ideological purposes, as the Greek system on a college campus is generally the bastion of resistance toward woke social justice warriorism.
But while Alexander was assaulting the Greek system there were football players and coaches exceeding the worst of the Greek houses in sexual misbehavior, and rather than go ballistic about that, Alexander assisted in covering it up.
Meanwhile, there is this…
Alexander also suggested the outcry against one of his most significant and controversial actions—to allow a holistic admissions process that would remove barriers to access for low-income, mostly Black and Hispanic, students—was rooted in a racist culture.
“This is a racist issue,” Alexander says. “I was surprised we would have such resistance from the Board of Regents and others but it was because we were leveling the playing field for disadvantaged students, who needed LSU more than other students. … This was a battle between old LSU and the new LSU ….”
Yeah, it’s a racist issue, all right. Except F. King Alexander is the racist here. He’s a racist for thinking you have to dumb down your admissions standards in order to diversify the student body. This isn’t about leveling the playing field for disadvantaged students, it’s about making F. King Alexander look nice and woke for some Democrat politician to bring him up to Washington and set him up with a job in the Department of Education. He gets to crow about how many more black students he admitted at LSU, without giving a hot damn about whether those kids are being put in a position to succeed.
We haven’t looked lately at the relative graduation rates at LSU by ethnic group. We know that on other campuses, and specifically the ones which practice more selective admissions than LSU does, there is a significant pattern whereby black kids from “disadvantaged backgrounds” struggle to graduate or achieve at the same rates as white or Asian kids. What we would say is that’s not a function of race so much as it is a function of common sense – any group you let in with 22’s on the ACT will probably not do as well as other groups who can’t get in without making 28’s.
So you admit these kids and you induce them to take on student loans, etc., to attend your school only to find out they’re not prepared for the academic rigor you require.
And what happens then? Either they get flushed out, and that debt they’ve taken on becomes an anchor around their necks because they end up with a lesser degree or no degree at all (and the lesser degree wouldn’t be all that big a deal, except they wouldn’t have gone into as much debt in the first place if they’d just gone to Southern or McNeese State from the beginning), or something worse happens.
Which is that you dumb down your own curriculum in order to keep them on campus.
LSU has had an explosion of “woke” courses of study in the past several years. Everywhere but the hard sciences you see a focus on “diversity” and “social justice.” We’re told by current students on that campus that woke orthodoxy pervades the place like swamp gas, and if you’re not a leftist you essentially have to pretend to be one if you want to keep your GPA up.
None of this is an accident. It’s done to mask the failure of “diversifying” LSU’s student body through racial bean-counting rather than recruitment of the best available students from all the different demographics. It’s not an accident that in the 10 years between 2011 and 2021, which were dominated by Alexander’s tenure as president, LSU’s US News ranking fell from 123 to 154. Alexander would say that it’s a function of Bobby Jindal gutting the university’s funding, but that’s a lie – LSU had a lot larger budget when Jindal left office than when he was inaugurated. Jindal shifted the funding model from state general funds to tuition paid for largely from the TOPS program, which meant the market governed LSU’s funding along with the other colleges in the state.
Socialists like Alexander don’t like that idea. They want excuses why they can’t do an effective job despite raking in high six-figure salaries in positions like President of LSU.
We will say one thing, not so much in his defense but joining him in criticizing LSU’s Board of Supervisors. After the Husch Blackwell report came out and LSU was mired in the sexual assault scandal, the Board and a few politicians in the state legislature thought it would be a good idea to rip Alexander and try to get him fired at Oregon State. That was going to happen anyway; Oregon has a woke-Karen female governor in Kate Brown who was certainly not going to put up with an old white guy running Oregon State after word he’d covered up a sexual assault scandal hit.
But what all that screaming did was to make it so Alexander had an enemy and a grudge after he was bounced in Corvallis. Now he’s got nothing but time on his hands to pursue a vendetta against LSU, and he’s doing it.
Engster is giving him a platform to do it. But if it wasn’t Engster it would probably be somebody else.
It might be fair to say that Alexander and LSU deserve each other at this point. The problem is that LSU is in the midst of trying to hire Alexander’s replacement, and none of this makes that any easier.