Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hanna: Believe us, not your lying eyes

by BIZ Magazine

In a matter of about 24 hours, LSU seemingly made a problem go away when an embattled chancellor was reinstated and then resigned amid a narrative that he was as innocent and pure as the Virgin Mary.
Such was the case last week when LSU reinstated the chancellor at its medical school in Shreveport, Dr. Ghali E. Ghali, who previously was placed on leave in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal that has engulfed LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge and beyond.

Ghali’s return to grace didn’t last long.  Mere hours after he returned to his throne, Ghali announced he would relinquish his post immediately to return to a faculty position in the medical school.  In a letter released publicly, Ghali stated he had been cleared of accusations that he retaliated against female physicians and others who complained of being sexually harassed by Ghali’s key administrators.  LSU confirmed Ghali’s statement, which without a doubt created the appearance that the accusations against Ghali were baseless.

In April, four women, including Dr. Jennifer Woerner, filed complaints against Ghali with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing Ghali of making their lives miserable because they had spoken up about being sexually harassed by Ghali’s underlings.  LSU, in its arrogant and infinite wisdom, suspended Woerner, who last week sued LSU, claiming her suspension amounted to nothing more than retaliation.

The EEOC complaints represent an ongoing matter.  Woerner’s lawsuit is in its early stages of litigation. 

Meanwhile, LSU claims to have conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations against Ghali.  I am aware of three separate inquiries, one of which included an evaluation of Ghali’s job performance as chancellor.  Another inquiry was quietly sanctioned by a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors and most recently, LSU hired the Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson law firm in Baton Rouge to dig into the Ghali mess as well.

To date, LSU has not disclosed the findings of any investigation into Ghali.  Why?

Since LSU would have us believe Ghali did nothing wrong, it seems only reasonable that LSU should release any investigative report about Ghali’s behavior.  After all, the accusations levied against Ghali were very serious, and as far as the EEOC is concerned, the case against Ghali is far from over.   

What about Ghali?  In his own words, he said he had been cleared of any wrongdoing.  If that’s the case, shouldn’t he want the general public to read a report, or multiple reports, explaining why the accusations against him were without merit?

Missing from this sordid affair is Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat whose name keeps popping up as someone destined for a plush post in the Biden administration.  Perhaps the governor would have already been named the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican if his Me Too bonafides were in order.  Ducking a sexual harassment investigation certainly hasn’t done Edwards any favors among hardcore liberals.

Yet, Edwards has been nowhere to be found while LSU behaves like a nervous cat in a litter box.  Obviously the governor believes he would be better off by keeping his mouth shut.  His silence is more than noteworthy.

In the meantime, we’ll just have to keep hope alive and leave it to Ghali’s accusers to force the truth to the surface.  LSU’s message is quite simple:  trust us, not your lying eyes.

Sam Hanna is publisher of the Ouachita Citizen.

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