LSU Faculty Senate votes to censure LSU president

LSU Faculty Senate votes to censure LSU president

The LSU Faculty Senate voted Tuesday afternoon to censure LSU President Chancellor F. King Alexander. This comes after a former tenured professor was fired from LSU, in spite of recommendations from a faculty review committee. There were claims Dr. Teresa Buchanan created a hostile learning environment and "consequent sexual harassment through the use of vulgar language."

A censure is a formal reprimand, or to officially criticize (someone or something) strongly and publicly.

A faculty review committee did not find the allegations warranted Buchanan's dismissal and only recommended that she be censured. The LSU Board of Supervisors, at the recommendation of LSU President F. King Alexander, fired Buchanan in June.

Several faculty members feel the firing was uncalled for and disregards the university's own due process.

The Faculty Senate considered a resolution that would officially censure Alexander and others, condemning how the case was handled, and asking for a second chance for Buchanan.The resolution is sponsored by 15 members of the faculty.

Alexander said the case goes beyond the use of a few curse words and cuts to the heart of protecting students.

"The behavior of the faculty member places the university at substantial risk," said Alexander during an interview in September. "A university that tolerates, inadequately addresses or is deliberately indifferent toward sexual harassment may be subject to loss of federal funds and/or may be liable for money damages under Title IX or The Civil Rights Act."

Ernie Ballard, LSU Director of Media Relations, released a statement for the university regarding the vote to censure Alexander:

While we respect the Faculty Senate's right to disagree with the administration, they simply don't have all the facts in this case. Unfortunately, due to potential litigation, we are not at liberty to share all of the facts. We stand behind the decision made by our dean, former provost, president and Board of Supervisors and what it represents – that our students have the right to learn in an environment free of sexual harassment, bullying and verbal abuse. Being deliberately indifferent to hostile learning environments is not only damaging to our students but undermines the educational values and principles that higher education represents. We firmly support tenure and academic freedom as integral parts of academia, but they do not supersede the civil rights of our students. Our faculty understand this, but when the rare exception occurs, action must be taken to prevent the continuation of such damaging and counterproductive environments.

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