Editorial: LSU must reveal president applicants

Here’s the latest scoreboard: Louisiana media representing the residents of the state 2, LSU 0.

The state’s two largest newspapers NOLA.com/Times-Picayune of New Orleans and The Advocate of Baton Rouge won another round

against the flagship university when the state Supreme Court sided with them in their suit to discover who applied for the

president’s position.

State District Court Judge Janice

Clark agreed in April with the media outlets’ argument that under

Louisiana law the list

of applicants is public record. On Aug. 14, she found the

university in contempt of court for not releasing the records and

said the university must pay $500 per day or make the records

public. Additional fines that she levied against LSU now total

more than $50,000.

In what amounts to legal skullduggery, LSU has argued that 35 candidates had been considered as semifinalists, but F. King

Alexander, who was ultimately chosen as president, was the only finalist and hence the only ‘‘applicant.’’

And to think that LSU is paying its

attorney Jimmy Faircloth good money for that specious argument. But

Faircloth will earn

his keep as he vows that the university will appeal the Supreme

Court ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal. He said LSU

will not turn over the records the media requested unless ordered

to do so by the appellate court.

In the meantime, attorneys from both sides continue to spar. The Supreme Court’s ruling said, ‘‘Stay denied; writ denied.

Insofar as relator is aggrieved by the August 14, 2013 judgment imposing sanctions for contempt, it has an adequate remedy

by suspensive appeal.’’

The media’s attorney, Lori Mince, said LSU has no choice to turn over the records or continue to be held in contempt.

Faircloth said the issue of the fines for contempt will return to Clark, and that the university will appeal all the issues

to the 1st Circuit.

Hence, this soap opera, winging under the public’s radar, continues.

We remain convinced, though, that there would be much more scrutiny if the particulars of this case involved the search for

a new head football coach at LSU.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.