LSU hires first African American president in the SEC

Dr. William Tate IV will begin as president in July

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Dr. William Tate IV will begin as president of Louisiana State University in July. Once he assumes his position at the institution, he will be the first African American in the role and the first African American president of a school in the Southeastern Conference, according to CNN.

“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,” said Tate, who currently serves as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of South Carolina.

Dr. William Tate IV (Courtesy of CNN via Louisiana State University)

Tate holds the USC Education Foundation Distinguished Professorship with appointments in Sociology and Family and Preventive Medicine, and he served as dean and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis.

Tate also completed a second post-doctoral training program in the Department of Psychiatry—Epidemiology and Prevention Group at the Washington University School of Medicine, where he earned a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology, according to WAFB.

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“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. 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,” he said.

Dr. William Tate IV (Courtesy of WAFB)

The LSU board voted for Tate 15-0 after interviewing two other finalists, according to WAFB.

“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,” said LSU Board Chair Robert Dampf. “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”

Tate’s arrival comes as the university’s leadership addresses the controversy created by previous president F. King Alexander. Alexander reportedly left LSU for Oregon State University, then resigned in March amid criticism of his handling of sexual misconduct complaints during his time at LSU, WAFB reported.

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According to WAFB, The allegations were primarily raised in a report issued by Husch Blackwell, a private law firm hired to investigate issues at LSU, some of which were particular to Title IX, a program enacted to protect people from sex-based discrimination in areas of education or activities that receive federal funding.

The report raised further allegations regarding former LSU football head coach Les Miles, who is said to have behaved inappropriately with female LSU students, resulting in his resignation from his position as coach at the University of Kansas earlier this month, reported WAFB.

Various other incidents involving sexual misconduct at LSU that were not properly investigated were also outlined by the report.

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