Louisiana College: Drugs, Pornography, and What Joe Aguillard Knew

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23

I was sent a PDF recently which is really interesting. It is a PDF of the minutes of a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees on November 15, 2011. There are several aspects of this document that are extremely interesting. But, for the sake of this post I will focus in on just two issues. There will likely be future posts that focus on other issues.

For context, this document centers on an issue that developed in late 2011 with then Coordinator of Presidential Affairs, Joseph Cole. During my time at Louisiana College, Cole had risen to be one of the most prominent individuals on campus. He worked alongside President Aguillard often late into the evenings and on weekends. But, late in 2011 a split had grown between Dr. Aguillard and Joseph Cole to the point that the minutes of the Executive Committee were dealing with what Aguillard called blackmail from Cole. The issues are many and complicated even after reading the minutes one will find them convoluted. But, for me, two issues stand above the rest. The second issue, especially, deals with very concerning moral issues.

Dr. Aguillard in his office
Dr. Aguillard in his office

Integrity Versus Reward

The first issue is found on the tenth page of the document and becomes clear when compared to a document I was given only a few months earlier. In march of 2011, I wrote my letter of concern for Louisiana College. The abridged version (though the full version really should be read) is that I was concerned about the spiritual and academic health of the institution. I felt I had exhausted all avenues within the institution and needed to reach out to the constituency and board members in a thoughtful way. The retaliation against me was instant and harsh. I was immediately banned from campus, my computer was taken, my office locked with a 24-hour guard placed at the door (see ETA #2 below), my e-mail account was deleted, and I was summoned to the President’s office where I was told they would move forward with the parameters of my contract. The events that followed can be read about in my follow-up letter which explains the ordeal and the troublesome behavior of the administration. During this process, the College tried to settle with me. However, the attempts to settle required that I admit to dishonesty, insubordination, and breach of contract (I was guilty of none of them) and that I remain silent about LC issues but that LC could say whatever they wanted about me. In turn, the college would pay me the last three weeks of my contract. My responses to their claims against me were long but if you want to wade through them you can here.

That is a lot of information but the important part is to compare the harshness and severity to the response given to Joseph Cole when he tried to blackmail Aguillard. Also, take into account the long list of charges that Aguillard was putting forward against Cole in point #2 on page one. These charges included repeated dishonesty, absence from work, immoral behavior, stealing the President’s prescription medication, fraudulent/criminal use of the College Credit Card, tricking the President and his wife into entering a Mental Health Clinic in another state, and more. Despite this on page #10 Aguillard agreed to pay out the next eight months of Cole’s contract (an interesting point here is that as the assistant to the President Cole, a newly minted LC graduate, was making more than the average faculty member at LC), pay Cole an additional $25,000 after taxes, write Cole a positive letter of recommendation, and sign a confidentiality agreement so that Cole’s transgressions could not be made public. In return, Cole would give two weeks’ notice, sign a confidentiality agreement, and continue to publicly support the college.

Why the disparity between how I was treated and how Cole was treated? The only answer I can come up with is that by writing the letter I had embarrassed  Aguillard publically. Cole was still quiet and, in fact, wanted to remain quiet.

Sex and Drugs

The thing that really caught my attention on the document though appears in section 4.8 on page two. It reads:

Cole stated that in February 2010, he had been caught in a situation involving alcohol, pornography, hallucinogens, in a local hotel with two male College Freshman in which accusations of sexual misconduct were alleged and he (Cole) did not want it held against him by the President

The timeline here is hugely important. February 2010 was shortly before Cole was hired as a full-time assistant to the President. So, not only did Dr. Aguillard know about this behavior on Cole’s part he hired him on a full-time basis afterward as a representative of both himself and the College. Further, several sources have indicated that Dr. Aguillard then forbade the appropriate college officials from investigating the incident or properly handling it. Officially, LC has strong policies against all forms of sexual sin, alcohol, and drugs but in practice, Aguillard protected Cole and paid him a salary greater than faithful faculty who had served LC for decades. In fact, on a personal level, Cole sat right next to Aguillard during my hearings and they both knew that Cole had done things far worse than any of the fraudulent accusations against me.

But, it gets worse. The reader will notice that Tommy French, the current Chairman of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees, was on the Executive Committee and directly involved in the Executive Committee meeting and while there is no indication that David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, was in that meeting he was a member of the Executive Committee (see ETA below for correction) so it is inconceivable that he would not have been informed of this situation.

Dr. Daviid Hankins
Dr. David Hankins

Now fast forward 16 months. Dr. Aguillard is under siege in March 2013. Aguillard is being accused of unethical behavior which cost the college tens of millions of dollars in donations. David Hankins and Tommy French know the moral character of Dr. Aguillard, that he would hire an individual (Cole) knowingly that just weeks before he had taken two LC freshmen to a hotel where they had watched gay porn and had been provided drugs and alcohol by Cole and that Cole had at the very least offered sexual activities to these young freshman. But, still Hankins and French closed ranks to protect Aguillard. Hankins told one board member that Aguillard would be President of Louisiana College unless he is “found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl” all while knowing what Aguillard had allowed in his administration and had covered up. Almost a year ago I wrote a post entitled, “Baptist Ministers Seem to Vote to Cover Up Sin.” I had no idea.

I once had a conversation with a board member who assured me that Aguillard was an honest man who sometimes (too often) lies. It is time we all admit that the fruit is representative of the heart. And, Aguillard’s fruit is not the only fruit Louisiana Baptists should be concerned about.

ETA (2/26/14): I have been informed that my assertion that Hankins was on the executive committee was incorrect. However, the same source assured me that all this was openly discussed in before the entire board so Hankins was aware. This actually makes it much worse as most of the board in the spring of 2013 when Aguillard was “exonerated” would have been on the board in late 2011 and knew about these failures.

ETA #2 (2/26/14): I was contacted by Dwayne Rogers head of security at Louisiana College with the following statement:

Rondall, such hypocrisy! You state in your article and in a linked letter that a 24hr. guard was placed at you office door. That is an outright lie. Nothing even close to the truth.

To which I responded (corrected for typos):

Really Dwayne are we going to go there? You’ve backed Aguillard’s immorality for years. You’ve tried to call me out before and then misrepresented the information on the LC Facebook group. I was told by several students that there was a 24 hour guard placed on my office. If that is wrong I apologize but to get bent out of shape for such a small error, if I am in fact wrong, while you continue to back the sick pit that is Louisiana College is the real hypocrisy!

Dwayne and I continued to discuss the issues while longer and I assured him I would put a note on the page. While I believe Dwayne is incorrect, I was told by multiple sources that there was a 24-hour guard, I also want to be open to the fact that I could be wrong. The real oddity in this is the implication that an error about the guard in some way equates to the sins of Aguillard. If I am wrong about the guard, I apologize. But, the administration has done so much worse and never apologized. In fact they have hidden their sin while declaring their righteousness.

ETA #3 (2/26/14): TIm Johnson former Executive VP at Louisiana College was also mentioned in the minutes. He sent me statements today relating the portions of the report where he was mentioned.

The references to me in

4.4 facilities

4.5 signatures

4.4 I was tasked with the report of determining the adequate or inadequate nature of the facilities in regard to the classroom. What some individuals submitted was not in the proper context we were asking or looking for so I had to sort through and just pull out the adequate and inadequate parts of the submissions. (This was clarified and was not pursued.)

4.5 Aguillard and Cole were working on the Administrative Evaluations because some had been misplaced. That was not my task because it was the President’s evaluation. My part of that claim was thrown out because it had been misstated by Cole.

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