SU fires high-ranking official; won't confirm if leaked 'private' video led to decision

SU fires high-ranking official; won't confirm if leaked 'private' video led to decision

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Southern University says Dr. Brandon Dumas, who was allegedly involved in a video of a sexual nature, will be fired.

The statement reads:

Dr. Brandon Dumas was given a termination notice with an effective date of August 10, 2017. He remains on leave until that time. Dr. Dumas has requested to appeal the notice with the SU Board of Supervisors. The appeal request will be considered at the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 21, 2017. The University has no further comments on this personnel matter.

It's a scandal that has rocked SU to its core, even as the school has done its best to shroud it all in secrecy. School leaders last month acknowledged a sex tape had been leaked allegedly involving an employee and a student, but to this day, they have never publicly identified either of the people seen in the video and WAFB has been unable to confirm their identities as well. The same week news came of the tape being leaked, the university suspended Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Brandon Dumas. Daniel Banguel, a 2011 SU alumnus and publisher of the online newspaper, Penpoint News, said his first reaction was disbelief.

"I said well man, not another story and especially not coming from a high-ranking profile member of our university," said Banguel.

Dumas was placed on leave following the leak. In a statement, the school said it was pending a complete review of the procedures of Student Affairs. Thursday, SU made public their decision to fire him effective August 10, but has yet to say whether his termination was a result of the video or its investigation. Not long after the video surfaced, the school learned it was placed on warning by its accrediting agency, SACS-COC. According to the university website, Dumas serves on the school's SACS reaffirmation committee.

"To be fair to anybody who was under this type of scrutiny, is that you give people the benefit of the doubt until you're able to prove it," said Banguel.

Banguel believes in due process, but says the university could have done a better job updating the public.

WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked Banguel if he was disappointed in the way that the situation has been handled. "Well I mean, one of the things I've always criticized the university is the way they handle PR relations," said Banguel.

He says the university has done very little to calm fears among alumni and believes it's something the school must change immediately. "Our university has had a pattern with lack of transparency with a lot of different things and I think today would be a great day to change direction as to making sure the community knows what's happening," Banguel added.

Last month, 9News set up an interview via email with Spears Group, a PR firm representing the school, who said the university was offering a one-on-one interview with system president, Dr. Ray Belton. In an email the next day, a representative from the firm cited a "change in circumstances" as the cause of what led the university to cancel the interview; however, the representative promised that "President Belton would speak with WAFB at a more appropriate time." That email, dated June 28, 2017 happened to be the same day the Million Dollar March, an annual multi-million dollar fundraising effort for the university, was launched.

WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked national alumni federation president, Preston Castille, if the timing of the canceled interview could have been to avoid negative press.

"Well I don't know the particulars of why they made that decision I think that what has been taken into consideration is that there are people's lives that are involved, there are very sensitive issues and that we've got an entire institution that is dependent upon the university administration to make good decisions," said Castille.

Castille says overall, he thinks officials at the university did as well as can be expected based on what they were up against. "The university has, I think, done a good job of being very measured and being very careful. Obviously, the issues that the university has had to address over the last couple of weeks frankly have been very sensitive," Castille added.

Like any institution of higher learning, Castille says Southern is not perfect, but he believes the school is constantly striving to be better.

"We're continuing to move forward and make progress and look at internally how we can make the institution better. I think you'll see that in the coming weeks that those changes are taking place in an attempt to make the university stronger," said Castille.

Dumas will have a chance to appeal his termination at a system board of supervisors meeting at the J.S. Clark Administration Building scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.


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