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LSU makes history with first Black president in SEC

LSU makes history with first Black president in SEC
© LSU

Louisiana State University (LSU) has chosen its next leader, who will become the first Black president in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). 

William Tate, who currently serves as provost at the University of South Carolina, is expected to begin his term in July, LSU announced in a press release Thursday. 

LSU Board Chairman Robert Dampf said in a statement, “This is a very pivotal time at our university, from economic, environmental, social challenges, but we are doing great things at this place. From our academic achievements, our enrollment, our diversity, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.” 

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“We set about to find a great leader, and we found one,” he added. 

Tate was picked unanimously by the LSU board of supervisors out of three finalists from an initial list of 23 potential candidates. 

In the meantime, LSU said President Tom Galligan, who had been named the interim leader in January 2020, will be serving in the top role until Tate takes over this summer, the school said. 

Tate said in a statement Thursday, “What I’m really most excited about is I met students here who really are amazing, and for me, this position is all about what we can do to help students and give people access and opportunity in higher education.” 

“That’s really in my DNA, how do we help people regardless of their background  we find the money, get you here and give you the opportunity to live your dream,” he continued. “I think there is no better place in the United States to come find your dream and to make it happen than right here at LSU.” 

The 56-year-old is coming in as LSU’s new leader amid several controversies at the university, including an independent report that detailed the school’s alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations. 

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Last month, a group of former and current female students at LSU filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school over allegations of sexual discrimination and assault. 

The lawsuit claims that the university, as well as former athletic directors, team head coaches, presidents and various other staff members, “repeatedly engaged in discriminatory, retaliatory, and other unlawful actions” when students tried to report sexual assault, thus violating Title IX and university policies. 

In March, University of Kansas head football coach Les Miles left his position following a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him from his time at LSU, and later that month former LSU President F. King Alexander, who left LSU in 2019, stepped down from his job leading Oregon State over his handling of the Miles allegations.