A few days ago, perhaps with the hope of attracting the attention of the national media that towed along, Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard announced at a campaign event he hosted for the erstwhile Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that he would “consider shutting down” Louisiana College if Obamacare ever became the law of the land.
I commend the students who bravely spoke out against Aguillard’s remarks, and I earnestly hope that, unlike others who have dared to criticize him, they will not be reprimanded for exercising the very same First Amendment rights that he disingenuously seeks to protect. The students who spoke out against Aguillard are absolutely right, though I’d add a few things.
First, in my opinion, his leadership has been an abysmal failure: The school is now threatened with sanctions for failing to comply with its accreditation standards. According to an internal report that was leaked to the media, it now faces over thirty million dollars worth of deferred maintenance costs. (And after it was leaked, Aguillard’s response was bafflingly stupid, essentially accusing the media of a Satanic plot against him). He’s lied to the public about his courtship of the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. He’s fired professors who point out his failures. And with all due respect, I am not holding my breath for his proposals for a law school and medical school; after all, the man can’t even ensure basic accreditation compliance for the undergraduate school, which should be considered his core responsibility. On top of all of that, aside from the unconfirmed gossip, Joe Aguillard’s salary has increased exponentially throughout the last few years. From SaveOurLC:
2010 (FY 8-1-2010 to 7-31-2011)
Aguillard 202,594; Quarles 115,287; Hargis 99,238; Johnson 94,957; Pack 83,995.
Aguillard 190,813; Travers 100,396; Quarles 98,973; Hargis 89,337; Johnson 87,954; Pack 82,376
Aguillard 179,159; Quarrels 92,640; Johnson 88,031; Hargis 88,025; Pack 80,970; Travers 46,789
Aguillard 164,000; Sumrall 101,750; Quarles 93,008; Spears 92,249; Hargis 90,000; Pack 81,684; Dunn 80,800; Ferry 77,063; Packer 74,280; Campbell 71,250
Aguillard 132,338; Sumrall 111,000; Quarles 90,236; Hargis 88,000; Spears 86,228; Howell 71,938; Thames 69,196; Rushing 68,059; Neal 62,368
Aguillard 105,575; Townsend 90,557; Hargis 83,028; Thames 66,874; Rushing 62,360
Lee 147,030; Hawkins 105,128; Townsend 89,000; Hargis 81,600; Aguillard 69,738
Aguillard has been receiving exponential payraises every single year, despite the fact that Louisiana College has continued to struggle, despite the threat of sanctions, despite those “evil” reports on deferred maintenance. Apparently, the Board at LC awards grandiosity over effectiveness. And now, Joe Aguillard’s latest ploy is to attempt to convince everyone in our community that his “faith,” which allows him and his institution the ability to receive our money, tax-free, somehow prevents women from accessing birth control medication. Every sperm is sacred, even if you can’t prove it, right?
To all the LC defenders, that’s fine. Seriously. But in fairness, there should be one precondition: No more taxpayer dollars. If this is all truly about the government infringing on your ability to practice your own religion, then, for Chistsakes, don’t take the government’s money; otherwise, when you do, you’re engaging in a taxpayer-subsidized establishment of religion, which is in contravention of the First Amendment.
Joe Aguillard needs money from all of us in order to ensure that his school operates; he can’t do it on his own. Let’s make that clear. Indeed, that is the ONLY reason why he’d threaten to shut down Louisiana College over a federal law he personally (and I believe, moronically) opposes. If he could do it on his own, why would he ever need to threaten to close the school?
I call his bluff. I think he’s nothing more than an amateur publicity hound. And I dare him: Close LC over contraception coverage in the Obamacare bill. Do it.
Guess what, Mr. Aguillard? When and if you ever do, people won’t remember your failed attempt at battling for your singular right to deny your female employees medication. Instead, they’ll remember your legacy of failure. They’ll remember the threat of academic sanctions. They’ll remember the deferred maintenance. They’ll remember when you ate a worm on camera, your bizarre antics, the rumors that have surrounded you, the fact that your salary has nearly doubled while the core institution has suffered. They’ll also remember your Board and how they not only failed the institution they swore to protect but also the expectations and hope of an entire region. They won’t remember birth control pills or the morning after pill or your non-scientific claims about the sanctity of a male orgasm (because that’s really what this is all about); they will remember your failures as a leader. So, close the school. Please, close the school. Make good on your threats. Close LC. Shut it down now. Prove your point. Go ahead.
Or, just stop taking money from the rest of us. I hear that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pledged a bunch of money. Maybe you can ask them instead.