POSTED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 4:26pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 7:05pm
This is an NBC33 News update: A replacement for Roland Toups was announced today by Governor Jindal's office. Governor Jindal announced Dr. Albert D. Sam II to the state agency.
Dr. Albert D. Sam II, of Baton Rouge, is a surgeon with the Vascular Specialty Center and serves as Chief of Vascular Surgery at Baton Rouge General. Sam will be appointed to serve as a representative of the 6th Congressional District, in accordance with the requirements of the Louisiana Constitution.
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) – Recent controversy surrounding the Louisiana Board of Regents was heightened on Monday, March 7 when the oldest serving member resigned.
Roland Toups was appointed fourteen-years ago to the Board of Regents by former Governor Mike Foster. He officially resigned on Monday, which comes just days after questions were brought to light about Jindal’s ethics regarding those appointments.
All nine of the current board members have contributed funds to Governor Jindal’s election campaign. These allegations have heightened tensions already surrounding the board. A representative for the Louisiana Democratic Party says the resignation is a chance for Jindal to set things right.
"Now he has the opportunity to appoint someone who can show a commitment to higher education reflect diversity in Louisiana and give Louisiana families the perception back that Governor Jindal is not running Baton Rouge in the same ol' corrupt way with good ol' boy networks and pay for play politics," Kevin Franck, spokesman for the Louisiana Democratic Party, said in an interview with NBC33 News.
When the report connecting the board members was brought to light, the Governor’s Chief of Staff quickly responded to the accusation as “ridiculous.” He said, “Every contribution is made in accordance with campaign finance laws and fully disclosed in the campaign report.”
Contributions, however, are not the concern for six Southern University students currently engaged in a legal battle with the Governor. They believe the gender and ethnic make up of the Board of Regents does not reflect the state’s population, and is therefore unconstitutional.
The students filed a restraining order against the governor back in February. It was then argued in court by representing attorney Cleo Fields. The case was highly debated for nine hours before Judge Kelley ruled that Governor Jindal was not acting against the constitution.
The students, however, plan to continue their fight. An appeal was filed today, and on Sunday, Reverend Jesse Jackson plans to make a stop in Baton Rouge as a show of support.
Reverend Jackson plans to speak on Sunday, March 13 at the Living Faith Christian Center located on Winbourne Ave. in Baton Rouge. The rally will begin at 6 p.m.