LSU board repeats vote on contentious job merger

BATON ROUGE (AP) — LSU's governing board on Friday again approved plans to merge the jobs of university system president and

flagship campus chancellor, refusing requests by faculty to slow reorganization efforts and postpone the merger.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously backed the idea in its second vote on the issue.

The latest vote was designed to address concerns from the attorney general's office that the board's October decision violated

the state's open meetings law because the public wasn't properly notified that a vote would be taken.

"In the spirit of being very clear about our

commitment to transforming and moving LSU forward, and also in the

spirit of

removing any doubt about our commitment in the way that this is

handled, we would offer a resolution again," board chairman

Hank Danos said, introducing the new vote.

Also, the language of the resolution was changed to respond to questions raised by the Georgia-based accrediting agency that

reviews the LSU campuses.

The Southern Association of Colleges and

Schools, or SACS, has said a merger needs its approval and has sought

more details

about university plans. The new resolution spelled out that a

merger would be done in accordance with accreditation requirements.

The job consolidation is part of a planned, but still undetermined, revamp of the university system, which includes medical

schools, a law school, an agricultural center and several smaller campuses in addition to the Baton Rouge flagship campus.

Board members ignored the request of the LSU Faculty Senate, which passed a resolution asking for a suspension of consolidation

plans until university faculty and staff could evaluate the idea and offer their recommendations for reorganization.

"We're not adverse to change. We're just used to being very slow and deliberative about it," said Ken McMillin, vice president

of the Faculty Senate.

Members of the Board of Supervisors said they had sought advice from consultants and university leaders in other states about

the wisdom of a job merger. They defended their deliberations as well-reasoned.

A search already has started for a new leader to take the merged job of LSU president.

Danos said the reorganization will help make LSU more competitive and improve its national rankings in higher education reviews.

The president of the LSU Faculty Senate, Kevin Cope, has filed a complaint with the SACS Commission on Colleges, saying the

decision-making about the reorganization has been too secretive and appears rife with political meddling by the governor.

William Jenkins is currently working as both interim system president and interim chancellor of the main campus. He pledged

Friday that reorganization discussions will be inclusive and have strong input from the faculty and staff who work on the

campuses.