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EDITOR’S NOTE: Excerpted from a Town Talk report filed by Leigh Guidry. The original report was edited for space purposes.
ALEXANDRIA – Portions of a conversation Jodi Martin, an LC graduate who worked for the school’s recreation sports and graphic services departments, had with Aguillard recently were posted on Faith on View, a blog operated by former Louisiana College art teacher Rondall Reynoso, who has publicly feuded with Aguillard for two years.
Martin’s identity was not revealed on the blog, but Aguillard identified her in an interview with The Town Talk. Martin later confirmed she had made the recording.
“I didn’t expect it (the story) to be picked up,” Martin said in her first public comments since leaving LC. “I didn’t expect it to be a big deal. I knew it would take time to devote to this, which I was willing to do, but it was safer in the beginning to be anonymous. … Since it was not going to be anonymous anymore, I felt responsible to provide context.”
In the meeting, Aguillard discussed what type of attitude employees should have toward him.
“I am the employer, and I sign your contract,” Aguillard said on the recording. “You don’t work for the college. The college is not an employer. 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.”
Aguillard told Martin in the meeting that he expects LC employees to be completely loyal to him personally.
“He’s the president, and he knows what he is doing, and he knows things nobody else knows,” Aguillard said on the recording. “So, because he’s my boss and biblical authority rests in him to run this institution, I am proud to jump at his request as an employee of the college. … I’m here to serve the president and show 1,000 percent loyalty to whatever he does.”
Martin said she had resigned her position two weeks before her meeting with Aguillard. She has since moved away from Pineville.
Only Aguillard is heard on the recordings. Martin said she asked Reynoso not to release the recording of the entire meeting because it was “incredibly long” and to protect names of LC students she said were mentioned in the conversation.
In an interview, Aguillard said he stands by what he said in those recordings.
“I say all those things every day,” he said. “I am the employer. … I’m president. I run the school. I answer to the Board of Trustees.”
He said his sentiments are common knowledge, which aligns with his comments on the recordings.
“And I’m going to make it very clear before people re-sign up,” he says on the recording. “Don’t sign up here if you aren’t on board with Joe Aguillard. ‘Cause it ain’t going to 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.”
Tommy French, chairman of the LC Board of Trustees, was present for Aguillard’s interview with The Town Talk. He said he firmly backs Aguillard.
“He serves at the pleasure of the board,” French said. “It’s like that in the local church. The pastor is the chief officer. You’re (Aguillard) accountable to the board. He can’t just do it as he wants.”
Martin said her decision to resign from her positions at LC was due in part to the “environment on campus” at the time and for other personal reasons like wanting to move.
“I had a great experience at Louisiana College up until my last year there,” she said. “I do care a lot about the college and people still there. I hate that this has been a point of contention.”