Louisiana College: Aguillard doubles down on narcissistic comments

Dr. Aguillard in his office

Dr. Aguillard in his office

Today The Alexandria Town Talk ran a story on the recordings of comments released on this site almost six weeks ago in the article, “Aguillard in his own words: Will the real Joe Aguillard please stand-up, please stand-up, please stand-up?” In that article were recordings of Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard saying some very shocking and narcissistic things such as:

The employee was “here to serve the President and show 1000% loyalty to whatever he does.”

“I am the employer and I sign your contract. You don’t work for the College. The College is not an employer. It’s a place of work. The employer is me and the employee is you.”

“Every office on campus is mine.  (pause for effect) Every office on campus is mine.”

“There is no freedom of speech here. I didn’t make that up. That’s the law. When a student says, “I have freedom of speech…” We have three attorneys who will laugh them into the ground because there is no such thing here.”

“I’ll put loyalty over competency with everybody that I allow to voluntarily work here, including student workers.”

“I’m going to make it very clear before people re-sign up. Don’t sign up here if you aren’t on board with Joe Aguillard. Cause it ain’t going work, it’s just not gonna work. That’s the way it is. Like my Momma and Daddy, you gonna live under my roof and eat my food and wear my clothes you will live by my rules.”

The quote: “There is no freedom of speech here,” Aguillard said on the recording. “I didn’t make that up. That’s the law. When a student says, ‘I have freedom of speech …,’ we have three attorneys who will laugh them into the ground because there is no such thing here.” makes my stomach turn. While the college’s legal situation may support this concept, the mean-spirited, condescending attitude towards students is appalling. Having a team of attorneys ready to pounce on a college student sounds sinister to me.

Jodi Martin, the former employee who made the recording, had submitted her resignation two weeks prior to the recorded meeting. She was called in to the meeting as part of Aguillard’s efforts to track down who had leaked that the Professor of the Year award had been cancelled after Ryan Lister, a professor whose contract Aguillard had chosen not to renew, was selected by the students to win the award. Martin chose to record the meeting for protection given Aguillard’s reputation. When the recording was released Jodi chose, under my advisement, to remain anonymous. Aguillard is notoriously litigious, as his comment about LC’s three lawyers demonstrates. In fact, when I was going through my ordeal with LC two years ago, which ultimately resulted in a restraining order issued by the courts against Aguillard and “all officers of the college”, my father, a former California Supreme Court Justice and civil rights attorney for 50+ years told me that Aguillard was among the most litigious people he had ever run across. However, once Aguillard named Ms. Martin to the Town Talk she chose to speak out. But, the full recording has not been released because there are names of people she supervised mentioned in the recording.

Among the most striking things to come out of the Town Talk article was this quote from Aguillard:

“I say all those things every day, I am the employer. … I’m president. I run the school. I answer to the Board of Trustees.”

Louisiana College

Louisiana College

Despite all the news over the last six weeks and the disturbing spirit of the comments Aguillard doubles down on his statements. Not only are they not improper, from his perspective, they are things he says “every day.”

John Neal of Alexandria says it well in his comments on the Town Talk article on-line:

The quote: “There is no freedom of speech here,” Aguillard said on the recording. “I didn’t make that up. That’s the law. When a student says, ‘I have freedom of speech …,’ we have three attorneys who will laugh them into the ground because there is no such thing here.” makes my stomach turn. While the college’s legal situation may support this concept, the mean-spirited, condescending attitude towards students is appalling. Having a team of attorneys ready to pounce on a college student sounds sinister to me. I find it disturbing as an educator, alumnus, and a parent who would not want my child attending a college that supported such statements. Running students “into the ground” over free speech sounds neither Christian nor American. I, and a great number of my family, graduated from LC, and I can assure you, the climate was not this extreme or oppressive before this administration.

That is what struck me about Aguillard’s comments. “The mean-spirited, condescending attitude towards students” has always bothered me. I’ve seen it toward students and toward faculty. People are disposable parts and Aguillard is willing to change those parts with attorney’s as his tools. In my 2011 letter I wrote, “There is a spirit of fear among the faculty and students which is wholly inconsistent with our God who does not give a spirit of fear.” and “There are some who gain strength in their faith through relationships with other believing students or with faculty who thoughtfully impact their lives, but many see LC as a place of academic mediocrity and spiritual cancer.” These recordings demonstrate the point well. The heart of the leader determines the direction of the college.

Yet, Frank Elliot in the same comments section shows the problem:

In my professional life, I have always been accountable to my boss, and it seems that is true at Louisiana College. Although the current president has the support of the Board of Trustees, the Town Talk has continued to insinuate, but has never offered supporting evidence, that the current president of LC has been involved in some wrong doing. That approach is questionable journalism. The result is a continued foment of unrest at LC that has produced an unstable atmosphere which is either contrived or real. Neither result is good for Louisiana College.

Mr. Elliot ignores that the Town Talk has previously released documents and in this article points toward this blog where recordings of Aguillard’s actual voice are provided. He claims that the Town Talk “has never offered supporting evidence” which is patently false. But, this sort of attitude happens often. Evidence that does not fit their desired narrative is simply discounted. Searching “Louisiana College” on Scribd.com turns up several documents about LC as does reading through the many previous posts on this blog on LC.

It is not that there is not evidence, it is that some do not want to see the evidence.

I’ve told the following story before but it bears repeating. After, I wrote my letter in 2011 a fellow faculty member challenged me on the letter. During our discussion this faculty member said, “Even if what you say is true why would I even want to know?” I simply responded, “Because, the truth is always important.” This faculty member has continued to ignore the issues and had been rewarded for it with tenure. But, at what cost do people ignore such issues? Does not a commitment to Christ require a commitment to truth? Does not orthodoxy require a commitment to orthopraxy?

These discussions always make me think of this passage in Jeremiah 6:12-15

12 Their houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together,
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”

Rondall Reynoso

Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

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