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Dr. William Tate ready to tackle new role as LSU System President

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University is in the process of changing its culture in a number of ways, and as it moves forward a new leader has emerged, prepared to steer the university through the formidable waters of change. 

When Dr. William F. Tate IV was announced as LSU's next System President on Thursday, he indicated his readiness to tackle the very public issues the university faces.

Key among the cultural shifts that the institution intends to make are an improved response to claims of sexual harassment and assault as well as consistency in its promotion of diversity and inclusion on campus.

The post with LSU has pulled Tate away from his position as Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs with the University of South Carolina.

Tate's former stomping grounds sits in the nation's top 3 percent for the number of African American graduates, a figure that may indicate its success in promoting diversity.

However, USC is also battling its own Title IX accusations. According to a news outlet called The State, after ten women accused the university of mishandling allegations of sexual assault, in March of 2021, USC President Bob Caslen announced that the school would take new steps to address its handling of Title IX policies.

In any case, as the history-making social scientist moves into his new leadership role with LSU, it's clear that he brings with him valuable experience that can be utilized in addressing the university's currents issues. 

In addition to becoming LSU’s first Black president, Tate will be the first African American university president in the Southeastern Conference.

But Tate has asked to be valued for his efforts and not solely for his ethnicity. 

He touched on this during a recent address, saying, "What I would like you to say, in x number of years -because you asked me how long I'm going to be here- is not, "That guy was an African American president," but that he did a 'dog on' good job, and we're glad he came."

The LSU community and state of Louisiana appear ready to support the new system president's request.

The Associated Press reports that Robert Dampf, chairman of the LSU board, spoke highly of Tate, saying, “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.” 

Gov. John Bel Edwards, likewise, issued a statement congratulating Tate and expressing his confidence in him as “the right person to lead LSU.”

Terms of Tate’s contract with LSU have yet to be finalized, and Tate is set to officially take office on July 2.


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