The chair of Louisiana State University’s Board of Supervisors wrote a letter to Oregon State University’s governing board Monday, strongly criticizing F. King Alexander — the former LSU president now currently at the helm of OSU.
People in the OSU community and beyond have been calling for Alexander’s resignation after the law firm Husch Blackwell released a report detailing the mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations at Louisiana State University, some of which took place while Alexander was leading the university from 2013 to 2019. He took over at OSU last summer.
LSU’s board Chair Robert Dampf wrote his OSU counterpart, Chair Rani Borkar Monday admonishing Alexander — specifically comments Alexander had made about LSU in an Oregon State board meeting last week.
“Our community is far more advanced than many of the challenges that I had to deal with at LSU, which is a good thing,” Alexander told OSU trustees regarding the university’s handling of Title IX complaints. “We have higher expectations.”
In the letter, originally published by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the LSU leader writes that he is “beyond offended by Dr. Alexander’s arrogant and condescending comments about Louisiana’s culture, our state and our university.”
Dampf also wrote that Alexander had not told the OSU board fully about his interactions with Husch Blackwell for the report.
At that OSU board meeting, a trustee had noted that the law firm had only asked Alexander “13 written questions” instead of verbally interviewing him for the report, and Alexander in turn expressed his frustrations of not being able to give more input to Husch Blackwell.
Dampf said that account of events is not true.
“In actuality, Dr. Alexander was twice invited to be interviewed and instead communicated through Oregon State’s general counsel that he would only accept questions in writing,” Dampf wrote. “Husch Blackwell consented when it was the only way to get answers from Dr. Alexander, but stated their preference for a live interview so that there could be follow up questions.”
He continued: “Had Dr. Alexander accepted the invitation for a detailed interview, naturally the report would have included many of the details he indicated that he wished he would have been able to provide, and perhaps he wouldn’t be in the position he currently faces.”
OSU spokesperson Steve Clark said the university read the letter with interest.
“LSU’s concerns with President Alexander’s statements about his time at LSU seemingly would have [been] better addressed directly to F. King Alexander and not OSU’s Chair of the Board of Trustees,” Clark said. “As a university we look forward to seeing the progress in advancing Title IX at Louisiana State University and at all universities and colleges nationally, given the recommendations of the Husch Blackwell report.”
In the LSU report, the law firm’s investigators said they collected 75,000 pages worth of documents, more than 60 interviews with LSU employees and 27 community outreach interview sessions, but they only got one and a half pages worth of responses from Alexander, Dampf noted.