DECEMBER 4, 2020 

The Louisiana Allow for Out-of-State Members to the University Board of Supervisors Amendment of December, 2020 has raised a number of questions about diversity and representation within the state's higher education system. Specifically, Article VIII, Section 7.1 of the Louisiana Constitution currently states that "the board should be representative of the state's population by race and gender to ensure diversity," but it is unclear what mechanisms are in place to ensure this representation.

One potential issue with the current language is that it focuses solely on race and gender as markers of diversity. While these are certainly important factors, there are many other ways in which the board could benefit from a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. For example, board members who come from different regions of the state, or who have different professional backgrounds or areas of expertise, may bring valuable insights and perspectives that could help the board make more informed decisions.

Another question that has been raised is whether the out-of-state members who have been considered for these positions in the past are truly representative of the state's population. For example, while Lod Cook was a respected business leader and philanthropist, it is not clear that he was selected because he represented the state's demographic diversity or because of his connections and influence within the business community.

Given these concerns, it may be worthwhile for the Louisiana State Legislature to craft legislation that would complement Amendment 1 and provide more specific guidelines for how diversity should be ensured on the board. This could include requirements around geographic representation, educational background, professional experience, and other factors that could help ensure that the board is truly representative of the state's population.

Ultimately, the goal of the Louisiana Board of Supervisors for public universities should be to ensure that the state's higher education system is serving the needs and interests of all Louisiana residents, regardless of their race, gender, or other demographic characteristics. By taking a more proactive approach to promoting diversity and representation on the board, Louisiana can help ensure that its universities are equipped to provide the highest quality education and opportunities for all of its residents.


  • In December, 2020, the LSU Board amended its bylaws to allow out-of-state members.

  • Now, the Louisiana Constitution only recognizes race and gender as diversity markers. Diverse perspectives can benefit a board, though.

  • To ensure diversity, geographic representation and experience requirements should be more specific.

  • A diverse board can serve the interests and needs of all Louisiana residents.