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LSU's President search continues

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Eight candidates seeking to be Louisiana State University’s next president were chosen Wednesday by a search committee for interviews, including the leader of another college system in the state and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ top budget adviser.

LSU is seeking a new president in the middle of a sexual misconduct scandal, which was seen as dampening interest in the job, which has been open since an interim president took over the position in January 2020.

A total of 23 candidates submitted applications to oversee a system that includes colleges, medical schools, a law school and research institutions across the state. The president also works as chancellor of Louisiana’s flagship university in Baton Rouge.

The eight semifinalists will be interviewed Monday and Tuesday, with the search committee expected to pick finalists on April 30 to submit to the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Contenders to be interviewed include Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor’s chief budget adviser who runs the day-to-day operations of state government, and University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson, who heads the state’s largest public university system with nine colleges and 90,000 students.

Also to be interviewed are:

—Laurence Alexander, professor and chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

—Maj. Gen. Ron Clark, Army chief of staff for the United States Indo-Pacific Command.

—Kelvin Droegemeier, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

—Rustin Moore, professor and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

—Mary Ann Rankin, professor and former senior vice president and provost at the University of Maryland, College Park.

—Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley, president & CEO of consulting firm The P3i Group, LLC.

The university system is searching for a new leader in the midst of a scandal after a scathing independent report released earlier this year detailed years of LSU’s widespread mishandling of claims of sexual harassment, domestic violence and rape.

Some members of the LSU search committee had debated whether to postpone the search in hopes of attracting academic administrators unwilling wade into the issues surrounding the university at present, according to The Advocate. But the panel decided to continue the process, in anticipation of having a new president taking office sometime over the summer.

The job became open when F. King Alexander announced in December 2019 that he was leaving for a similar post leading Oregon State University. Alexander recently resigned from his Oregon State job because of his role in the mishandling of sexual misconduct cases at LSU.

Tom Galligan, then-dean of the LSU law school, was asked to serve as interim president, a job he’s been handling since January 2020. Galligan had expressed interest in the permanent position, but announced Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the competition.


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