Saturday, January 19, 2008

LSU Chancellor O'Keefe resigning

Sean O'Keefe has announced his resignation, to take place officially on February 1st. This came as a surprise to many a few weeks ago. He's been relatively mum about it, implying only that he doesn't have "the full confidence of the Board and the president." In an interview with 2theadvocate, he had a very diplomatic and even positive attitude about it, saying he has always been ready to resign should the board want him to. But:

O'Keefe: So this is a very good time, I think, to move forward, given a new president, a new opportunity, I think, to look at leadership for the University. It elected to move forward in that regard, and I am perfectly willing to do so.

Q: What do you think they're looking for that you didn't bring to the table?

O'Keefe: I have no idea.

He goes on to talk about the things he's done at LSU, including Forever LSU and the Flagship Agenda. He dodged a question about whether it was for political reasons: "This isn't about me, it's about LSU."

The most feasible explanation to me is that, as suggested to me by a friend, he was initially hired only for his ability to bring in money--not for experience in education administration--and that this ability was thanks to his ties with the Bush administration. Now that the Bush regime is in decline, members of the board see that he has outstayed his political usefulness. Whatever the case, the board doesn't want to discuss it.

Response has been varied. A group of boosters took out a full-page ad in the Advocate claiming that they'll stop donations if O'Keefe leaves (this seems like bluffing to me--stop supporting their tigers?). The Faculty Senate reportedly has "mixed feelings." And the Mustache Advocacy Network is/was "fighting" for him.

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