NOTICE: F. King Alexander’s lucrative business is a shame
Forgive me for the jarring title, but I feel passionate about it. Calling someone to be fired is usually not a smart idea and the current President of the State of Oregon, F. King Alexander, is not automatically a “bad guy” because of a big mistake. judgment as president of LSU eight years ago. BUT GO! Why is this guy still the president of a public university that just happens to be the school I’m perpetually rooted for? It’s a stain on the community and a slap in the face to anyone who wants to associate with the state of Oregon. Let’s take a look at what’s happening and where we are as of March 22, 2021.
Les Miles is a famous (un) football coach who became a household name coaching the LSU Tigers for 12 seasons. His team won a championship in 2007 and he was 114-34 during his time at Baton Rouge. Despite the successes in the field, his time with LSU has always seemed tenuous as if he was on the about to be replaced anytime. It didn’t really make sense to most foreigners, but now that the Husch Blackwell Report was made public (back on March 4), it all makes a little more sense now.
I was unfortunately a fan of the Miles. I thought he was a good football coach who fell victim to his own success, but I was wrong. Back in 2016 at the time of his dismissal from LSU the only reason given was his poor performance in the field or maybe his stubbornness. It was not common knowledge that Les Miles sexually harassed college-aged girls and generally behaved inappropriately.
At the height of Les Miles’ fame when he was “the big man on campus,” the highest paid public employee in the state of Louisiana, he was also accused of texting students, taking them alone to his apartment, making them uncomfortable and even kissing a student, then suggesting they go to a hotel room together and then he would help his career. At the time, a law firm was investigating the behavior / allegations of LSU and Les Miles. They found his behavior inappropriate (obviously). To give you an idea of how misogynistic and rude Les Miles was / is he “tried to sexualize the student staff working in the football program, for example, by allegedly demanding that he wanted busty blondes and “pretty girls”. ‘
Les Miles was the head coach of Kansas when this report went public. Kansas officials placed it on administrative leave the day after publication of the report and then he and the university broke up three days later.
HOW IS THE STATE OF OREGON INVOLVED?
Okay I get it, Les Miles isn’t a good guy, but how does that imply the state of Oregon? This is where the current OSU President, F. King Alexander, comes in. Mr. Alexander served as President of LSU from July 2013 to December 2019 until he took the job at Oregon State and decided to be Ed Ray’s successor.
You may be wondering how to hold on … Was the President of the State of Oregon aware of Les Miles’ disturbing conduct and actions? Yes, he absolutely did. He was keenly aware of Les Miles’ behavior and as a manager, responsible for defending LSU’s values, he did nothing. In fact, doing nothing is too generous, he used his position of power to remove this information and ignore or downplay the allegations. LSU’s athletic director at the time was Joe Alleva. Mr Alleva was aware of Les Miles’ disturbing behavior and strongly encouraged Mr Alexander and other senior LSU officials to fire Les Miles as a football coach. Here’s what the LSU athletic director emailed Alexander and others in 2013:
As we get closer to deciding how to deal with the results of our investigation, I want to recommend at least a few things … a written reprimand outlining his inappropriate behavior and the consequences of his reappearance, some sort of advice and reduction to all bonuses paid to him equal to legal fees incurred due to his inappropriate behavior … I also believe that the whole board should be informed of the situation before any decision is made. I think his continuing jobs need to be seriously considered. When I review the use of a secret personal phone, texting, the fact that I had previously advised him against such behavior, the off-campus evening meeting, etc., it gives me great concern for the future. . This problem can or will have a serious impact on our university and sports department.
In another email a few weeks later, Joe Alleva pleaded with F. King Alexander to consider firing Les Miles, writing:
Bob and King, thanks for calling today … once again I want us to think about the worst case scenario for LSU. Explain why we let him go or explain why we let him stay. Proactive or reactive … I still believe people are innocent until proven guilty and in this case I think he is guilty of insubordination, inappropriate behavior, endangering the university, the department of sports and football program. I think we are right. I specifically told him not to text, call, or be alone with hardworking students and obviously he wasn’t listening. I know there are a lot of possible outcomes and a lot of risk anyway, but I think it’s in the best long term interest to take a break. The court of opinion would favor us. The courtroom? On July 2 we will know more but the facts will remain the same … thank you.
How could F. King Alexander read these emails, participate in these discussions and decide to take action other than immediately dismissing Les Miles ?? Instead, Les Miles coached LSU for three more years under Alexander’s leadership.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The Oregon State Board of Directors called a Emergency meeting (which will take place on Tuesday 23/3). I would be shocked if F. King Alexander remained president of Oregon State University after this meeting. Why the repetition of the meeting less than a week after they decided to place Alexander on probation? Didn’t they just vote 12-2 in favor of not firing Alexander? The repeated reunion probably has to do with the many voices in the Oregon State community that are rightly outraged. Jarrid Denney of The Times Gazette has done an amazing job reporting the events of the past few weeks, including this recent story detailing outrage towards Alexander and the OSU board.
As for Miles? It amicably settled (probably for hundreds of thousands) with the woman who accused him of obscene behavior and now that these allegations have become public, Les Miles will never coach football again.
Back at LSU, the university did not fire any current employees whose conduct was criticized in the Husch Blackwell report.
THE BIG PICTURE
Allegations should be investigated, not ignored or glossed over. Especially against powerful men like Les Miles. Miles got a huge contract extension in 2013. Imagine you were a student at LSU and the millionaire football coach sexually harassed you and LSU officials (especially Alexander) were doing their best to ignore him and stand up for Les Miles; it is terrible.
To go further, public school football coaches and university presidents are public employees. F. King Alexander is paid a solid salary with benefits including: $ 630,000 per year (in base salary), a car allowance, an additional retirement allowance and benefits from a university residence / hostel. Yes, part of your Oregon state taxes and tuition goes directly into Alexander’s pockets. To top it off, this country is currently experiencing a student loan crisis as course prices have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, the the wealth gap is widening and it seems that basically every system in the United States has been designed to benefit rich white males at every turn possible.
Alexander did not personally design the system that allows wealthy white men to be treated differently by law enforcement / the court system, to be more likely to get away with sexual assault, to take advantage of loopholes when paying taxes and accessing the best paying jobs. ; but it is clear that his decisions and actions were aimed at keeping this discriminatory system in place. Mr. Alexander’s failure to act as president of LSU illustrates why we still need social justice movements and protests in the 21st century.
The State of Oregon made a mistake in hiring F. King Alexander as its next president. That’s okay, mistakes do happen, their hiring process didn’t expose the Miles scandal the way it should have. The University compounded this error by deciding not to fire Alexander last week. Alexander should have been fired as soon as the board found out about his role and involvement in the perpetuation of Les Miles’ behavior and his decision to keep Miles as LSU’s head football coach. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing that the board is holding another meeting to correct this bad decision. Oregon state fans everywhere want to celebrate their basketball teams’ success in the NCAA tournament, but instead a dark cloud hangs over the college. His name is Fieldon King Alexander and as of March 22, 2021, he is still president of Oregon State University.