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#MeToo movement takes over Southern after Nakamoto exposes allegations of wrongdoing

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BATON ROUGE – A group of women, some who identified as employees of Southern University, gathered on campus Wednesday with signs condemning the former head of the university’s ag center amid a series of WBRZ reports surrounding issues with the department’s former chief.

Signs read #MeToo – a message assault victims across the country have used to highlight workplace and cultural sexual assault and misconduct – and also included written messages “SU stop re-hiring predator.”

The signs were directed to university officials amid the resignation and possible rehiring of Bobby Phills.

Phills, as WBRZ was first to report February 4, resigned as Chancellor-Dean of Southern Ag Center. At the time, the university only labeled the resignation as “a personnel matter” and refused to comment further. But, sources told WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto, Phills’ abrupt resignation came about after an investigation by the university’s human resources department.

A week later, on February 11, Nakamoto reported on the 6 o’clock news, Southern University confirmed Phills would return to work and assume a tenured administrative position in the fall.

Phills has been accused of misconduct by women, four employees who worked with Phills have told the WBRZ Investigative Unit similar stories regarding allegations of wrongdoing.

Attorney Willie Matthew Zanders, Sr., who represents Phills, released the following statement Wednesday.

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 !!"

Southern once again refused to comment Monday.

Following the two reports by WBRZ, the group of women gathered outside administrative offices at Southern Wednesday.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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