In agreeing to turn over records from its secretive presidential search to 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark, The LSU Board of Supervisors has taken a long overdue step toward acknowledging the court’s authority — and the board’s broader duty to the public it’s supposed to serve.
The board had been in contempt of court for four months for refusing to turn over the documents. The Advocate, later joined by The Times-Picayune, had sued for release of the records, and Clark had ruled that they be made public. But the board had refused to follow Clark’s order that the documents should be released. This week’s agreement ends the board’s regrettable exercise in lawlessness, which was an embarrassing spectacle for LSU’s community of supporters.
Like most compromises, the agreement outlining the LSU board’s release of the records to Clark is far from ideal. The records will continue to be kept under seal, out of public view, while the LSU board appeals Clark’s ruling.
The public deserves to know who else was considered for the post of LSU president, a job that ultimately went to King Alexander, the only announced finalist. We look forward to the day when taxpayers can get a clear view of how an important public university conducts its business.
But in acknowledging Clark’s authority, the LSU board has, at the very least, seemed to recognize the limits of its power.
No public institution, especially Louisiana’s flagship university, should be above the law.