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Suspended LSU athletics officials used university emails to conduct business while on leave

1 year 7 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, June 16 2021 Jun 16, 2021 June 16, 2021 12:23 PM June 16, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Two LSU athletics employees used their university-issued emails to discuss official business while suspended earlier this year after a high-profile investigation found a culture of tolerance for sexual misconduct and even violent behavior.

In the wake of the Husch Blackwell report findings on LSU's Title IX policies in March, the university suspended Senior Associate Athletics Director Miriam Segar and Executive Deputy Athletics Director Verge Ausberry.

A WBRZ Investigative Unit inquiry found Segar and Ausberry continued to handle university-related business while suspended.  Documents obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit show Segar and Ausberry both sent and received emails from their LSU accounts while on unpaid leave.

Segar was suspended for 21 days while Ausberry served a month-long suspension. Both suspensions began March 5, the day the Husch Blackwell report was released.

The university provided 84 pages of emails sent and received by Miriam Segar's LSU account from March 4 to April 6. Her suspension began March 5. The emails showed she remained involved with other employees while suspended. 

In a long email chain beginning prior to her suspension, Segar had been working to schedule Tony Porter, a speaker with an organization that aims to help "create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all women, girls, and those at the margins of the margins are valued and safe."

Emails show Segar continued working well into her suspension.

On March 8, a representative for the speaker asked to meet with Segar "in light of the articles/reports that came out last week."

Segar responded to the representative the same day asking for times that would work. In a separate email with a colleague, Segar even offered to participate in a phone meeting during her suspension, writing, "I can be on [the] call if you want."

Segar was also still sending reminders and giving marching orders while she was not supposed to be working.

In a March 17 email, Segar wrote to Executive Deputy Athletic Director Stephanie Rempe discussing recent NCAA decisions on student-athletes and summer classes.

Five days earlier, Segar was instructing employees to complete tasks.

In a March 12 email, Segar wrote to multiple LSU staff members requesting a logo for a new initiative, "Live Respect," an "education initiative for student-athletes." She also asked staff to order hundreds of teal wristbands and shoelaces for student-athletes to wear ahead of April's sexual assault awareness month.

Segar even acknowledged her forced absence, writing on March 8, three days after her suspension began, "I am out of the office for [the] next 3 weeks," though emails show she continued to work on several projects, including some related to Title IX.

On March 12, Segar wrote to an LSU employee to follow up with staff on sending in completed Title IX forms.

The batch of Ausberry's emails is much smaller, with only 18 pages of emails he sent and received in the documents LSU provided to WBRZ spanning March 4 to April 6. Two separate email chains included people reaching out to support Ausberry after his punishment was announced.

On March 19, two weeks into Ausberry's suspension, LSU Dining Director Briggitte Mosely sent Ausberry an email with the subject line, "I am with YOU." The email included a bible verse and an essay titled "How to Lessen Your Friend's Pain." Ausberry responded the same day with "Thank you!"

Ausberry sent an identical response to LSU employee, Soula O'Bannon-Bennis on March 9, after she told him she "sent a nice email on your behalf to [LSU President] Dr. Galligan."

Also on March 19, Ausberry was included in an email chain with a Southwestern Cheerleaders Association representative asking for "help in securing a PMAC date for an SCA cheerleading camp this summer." The email from Nadine Romero, SCA president, mentions state Sen. Mark Abraham, who represents the Lake Charles area.

Romero told Ausberry, "Mark Abraham is a good friend and has stated in the past that you have been helpful in this regard."

Ausberry then forwarded the email to Interim Associate Vice President of Governmental Relations & Public Policy Christopher Vidrine and Daniel Gaston, senior associate athletics director.

In that email, Ausberry wrote "[Nadine Romero] is connected to the political establishment in Lake Charles."

On a March 23 email chain, Ausberry responded to a local band inquiring about having their music played at football games.

In his response, Ausberry copied other LSU employees in the email who deal with gameday music and performers.

When asked if Segar and Ausberry's use of their LSU emails during their suspensions was acceptable, LSU said in a statement: "During their suspensions, both employees did have access to their emails, so they could forward messages to others to be handled, and in some situations, they needed to provide guidance so the work could be completed in a timely manner.”

Click HERE to read emails to/from Miriam Segar.  Click HERE to read emails to/from Verge Ausberry.

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