BATON ROUGE — Louisiana State University President William Tate held a press conference today in the school’s main library, where he unveiled “state-of-the-art receptacles” designed to collect and recycle the rainwater that regularly pours through the building’s leaking roof.
While similar in appearance to ordinary garbage cans, Tate said the “rainwater collectors” were cutting edge technology befitting an Ivy League school. “That’s why they have the logo, you see,” Tate said, pointing to decals on the bins. “Only the best for our students.”
Tate has come under fire recently after a heated on-air interview Kaare Johnson, host of the New Orleans radio show, Neutral Ground. Frustrated with standard questions about potential solutions to obvious problems, Tate attacked Johnson, who attended LSU as an undergraduate student, saying he “couldn’t probably get into LSU today.”
While it’s completely normal and reasonable for a university president to lose their temper over a question about the school they work for, some say Tate went too far when he likened the state university to a “lesser Ivy League” school.
“I understand Pres. Bill Tate’s impulse to defend LSU as some kind of lesser Ivy League institution,” wrote LSU professor Robert Mann on Twitter. “That’s laughable and delusional, but he’s all about the PR. But to insult and attack his interviewer is undignified and embarrassing.”
Critics have long pointed to the school’s library as a vital resource that has been neglected and is need of repair. While the university has a $28 million football building, the building that holds its books can’t withstand a summer shower.
Tate’s rainwater recycling program may prove to be an effective solution, though many who have experienced rain and water aren’t convinced, and advocates are calling for more traditional and proven alternatives, such as a new roof.