- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An outpouring of student support might have been the difference Southern University Chancellor James Llorens needed to get another shot at running the Baton Rouge campus.

Five members of Southern’s senior leadership emerged from a backroom meeting Tuesday afternoon, to announce Southern’s Board of Supervisors would soon schedule a special meeting.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1hbzP4V ) the meeting will presumably be held to take an up or down vote on whether Llorens is the right person to head Southern’s flagship Baton Rouge campus.

Later Tuesday evening, one of those board members, Tony Clayton, spoke before the Baker City Council and said that he is pretty sure there are enough votes to keep Llorens on as chancellor.

It would be a reversal of Southern’s 9-6 vote on Friday not to extend the chancellor’s contract for another year. The vote followed a recommendation from Southern System President Ronald Mason that Llorens be allowed to keep his job for another 12 months provided that he agree to assist the president’s office in coming up with a plan to run the campus more efficiently.

Board members have been tight-lipped and haven’t explained why they voted the way they did. It is unclear, some say, whether board members were voting against keeping Llorens for another year, or voting against the conditions Mason attached to his recommendation.

Llorens, for his part, said he was clear when he told the board he was not willing to accept the terms of the president’s recommendation. He argued that it would undermine his authority to run the campus and give the president unprecedented power to meddle in Baton Rouge campus affairs.

Mason denied that was his intention.

It’s a battle Mason has been fighting for more than a year against attacks from faculty and board members who charge that his plan to centralize the administrative functions of Southern’s five campuses in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, is really a back-door attempt to run those institutions.

Mason also said he was fine with the decision to hold a special meeting.

“The students’ voices were heard,” he said. “This was a great learning experience for them.”


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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