[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information provided by Dayne Sherman, a representative of the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates and the Louisiana Statewide Colleagues Collaborative.]
State Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, must be a busy man; that would explain why he was a no-show at a recent meeting in Alexandria, where 36 educators from around the state gathered to hear his keynote speech.
|Photo by Robin May|
|Sen. Elbert Guillory|
The Saturday, Feb. 2, event was organized by the Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates and the Louisiana Statewide Colleagues Collaborative, which consist of teachers and faculty from colleges throughout the state.
“Many of these college leaders drove several hours to listen and ask questions,” writes librarian Dayne Sherman in an email sent to The IND on behalf of the two groups. “In fact, some present had solicited questions from other citizens for Guillory. We are deeply disappointed that he failed to attend.”
Sherman, in an interview Wednesday afternoon, says he drove three hours to hear Guillory's scheduled speech. Sherman says Guillory did call one of the event's organizers on the day he was scheduled to speak to say that he would be absent. At that point, however, it was too late to notify those driving from out-of-town that Guillory would not be attending.
But Sherman says Guillory didn't even go to the trouble of notifying organizers he would be a no-show at an unrelated event last year. The state senator left a crowd of 40 people hanging during a meeting of the LSU Faculty Senate and LSUnited, held in April 2012.
“Again, people had driven to the LSU campus from other cities across the state to learn about important legislation; they were met with only contempt and neglect,” Sherman says. “We understand that in all human endeavors there are extenuating circumstances. But there seems to be a pattern with Sen. Guillory. We doubt that a similar disregard for commitments occurs when donors and lobbyists such as the American Legislative Exchange Council or the Louisiana Family Forum call.”
To give Guillory some credit, he was one of the few people to show up for a meeting Tuesday at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, where state Superintendent John White was scheduled to discuss the contentious voucher program. Yet circumstances seemed to have reversed: “Not a single parent showed up,” according to The Daily Advertiser
Aside from school staff, Sen. Elbert Guillory ... and Eric Lewis, the state director for the Black Alliance for Educational Options, showed up to the planned meeting, the Lafayette daily reported.
Guillory’s response: “These luminaries came, and we had a chance to meet and plan,” Guillory said. “We were able to make lemonade out of lemons.”
The Association of Louisiana Faculty Senates and the Louisiana Statewide Colleagues Collaborative are a mighty thirsty group.