Southern University System President Placed on Leave

SU System President Ralph Slaughter
SU System President Ralph Slaughter

There were more shake-ups Saturday in the leadership of the Southern University System. Board of supervisors met in executive sessions to further discuss the alleged sexual harassment claims against board chairman Johnny Anderson. But before the two sessions had ended, the board of supervisors had voted to place Southern System president Ralph Slaughter on leave for 60 days. There were several decisions made and the board certainly appears to now be headed in the right direction to deal with the harassment allegations against Anderson, but we're still short of some answers.

Southern's board of supervisors took a major step in seeking the truth or falsity of allegations of sexual harassment against board chairman Johnny Anderson. Following an executive session, the board gave Southern System president Ralph Slaughter a strong directive to turn over all evidence and documents related to the alleged harassment to the Human Resources/EEO Department at Southern, where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may become involved in an investigation.

John Joseph, acting SU vice-chairman, says, "I move the system president is directed to immediately turn over any information he may have to the university EEO Office to direct that office to conduct an investigation forthwith into that information in regard to the sexual harassment policy." This, of course, would require the alleged victims of the harassment to seek aid and protection from the EECO, where such work place harassment claims belong.

Following a second executive session, personnel action was taken against Southern System president Ralph Slaughter. A motion was made from board member Tony Clayton to suspend the president. "I move that the president be placed on suspension and administrative leave with pay for a period of 60 days, effective immediately." The president will return to work as president July 5th, 2007.

During that period, the president is directed to cooperate with the investigation conducted by the EEO and or Human Resources Office. President Slaughter told us we would have to ask the board why he was suspended. We asked acting board chairman Dale Atkins. She says, "Basically, he is being punished. He's being reprimanded. He's on suspension. The action speaks for itself." Paul Gates asked, "Well, is there a reason and could you tell us what the action was?" Atkins responded, "No." Atkins would not say, but it's common knowledge that President Slaughter has received criticism for not cooperating fully with an investigation ordered by Governor Blanco. The board has also received criticism for failure to address the allegations against Anderson, who remains on leave from his chair.

Saturday's board action requires another shuffle, Chancellor Edward Jackson will be moving up as interim president until Slaughter returns from leave. Margaret Ambrose will move into Jackson's position as interim chancellor. Board member Dale Atkins continues to serve as interim board chairman. Anderson was in his office Saturday, but unable to tell us when he will return.