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Louisiana State U. Merges Leadership of System and Flagship Campus

In a vote late Friday, the governing board of the Louisiana State University system approved a recommendation to merge the top leadership positions of the system and its flagship campus, at Baton Rouge. The merger is one of several recommendations in a proposal for reorganizing the system that was prepared for the system’s Board of Supervisors by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. The board has called a special meeting on November 2 to consider other elements of that proposal, which recommends realigning all components of the system “into a single university,” the board said in a news release.

William L. Jenkins is now serving as interim president of the system and interim chancellor of the flagship. He became the system’s interim chief in April after the dismissal of John V. Lombardi, and then took added duties as the flagship’s interim chancellor after Michael V. Martin announced in May that he was leaving that position. The board says it can now move forward with a search for a new “president of LSU” who will oversee all of the university’s entities.

Faculty leaders criticized the board’s action. “This is totally unacceptable,” Kevin Cope, chairman of the LSU Faculty Senate, told The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge. “We did not even know this resolution was going to be proposed.” He said the action could run afoul of the university’s accreditors because of the lack of faculty input “on such an enormous change.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose administration has been accused of interfering in university affairs, has said he supports the merging of the system and flagship leadership positions.

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