LSU general counsel Shelby McKenize said that LSU officials have “a moral obligation” to keep the public from knowing who else was considered in the job search that led to the recent approval of F. King Alexander as the new LSU system president.
But we believe that LSU officials have a clear moral — and legal — obligation to let public know the full range of candidates who were considered for LSU’s top management post. That’s the best way to give the public confidence that the best person was selected for the job.
McKenzie was referring to a recent vote by the LSU Board of Supervisors to appeal a court ruling that LSU should make the names of candidates and other information related to LSU’s search for a new president.
Recently, 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark ruled that the search-related documents requested by The Advocate and The Times-Picayune should have been surrendered by LSU. The newspapers had sued the university to obtain the release of the documents.
In a similar case, 19th Judicial District Court Judge Tim Kelley ruled that the search-related documents sought by Andrea Gallo, editor of the LSU Reveille, were not public records.
We believe that Clark’s ruling was correct, and we’re troubled by McKenzie’s suggestion that secrecy is a moral imperative in doing the public’s business.
That kind of attitude hasn’t served LSU officials or the public in previous searches for top administrators. LSU’s culture of secrecy isn’t a good way to build confidence in an institution that needs public support now more than ever.