Internal memo shows Southern has zero tolerance for sexual harassment, University remains mum on allegations
BATON ROUGE- An internal memo obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit sent by Southern University System President Ray Belton shows the University has a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
It comes as Belton acknowledged the #Metoo protestors, but has refused to answer questions to the media. Wednesday, they marched from the Agriculture building to the administrative offices demanding that their voices be heard.
On February 1st, 2019, Chancellor-Dean Bobby Phills resigned. The WBRZ Investigative Unit was looking into allegations of sexual harassment at that time when four women came to WBRZ alleging Phills sexually harassed them and the university did nothing about it. The next week, Phills sent out a letter promising his return to the university.
That's when the university confirmed he was coming back. The university couched the sexual harassment allegations as a personnel matter and said they couldn't comment on them.
However, an internal memo obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit shows Ray Belton acknowledged the protestors after they marched.
"... there was a #me too march on the Baton Rouge campus. Please know that we see you. We hear you, and we care," Belton wrote.
The letter went on to say, "The university doesn't condone any injustice on our campuses. We take all allegations or concerns of any type seriously."
One of Phills' alleged victims who was too afraid to show her face because she said she has a lot to lose is sickened by the way the university handled the case.
"To allow someone to still receive their paycheck, to allow someone to dictate how they're going to step aside is completely unfair," the woman said. "It's almost like they stood these women up in a line and slapped them all across the face."
The letter issued by the System President says Southern is committed to ensuring the safety and well being of the entire university community. All voices and concerns are welcomed.
Phills's attorney, Willie Matthew Zanders Sr., issued the following statement this week:
"Dr. Bobby Phills is not allowed to discuss personnel matters at Southern University because such matters are strictly confidential.
Any employee involved in personnel matters who goes public with half-baked charges against Dr. Phills violates his right to confidentiality and should be held accountable.
No disgruntled employee has proven any wrongdoing on part of Dr. Phills and should not use the "Me Too" movement to defame an educator with an unblemished national reputation.
Shame on those SU employees !!"
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