SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Louisiana state senator is lashing out at LSU Baton Rouge, accusing the state’s flagship university of going after LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Ghali E. Ghali in an attempt to deflect attention from the Title IX scandal rocking the system, particularly its vaunted football program.
“In looking at the situation at Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical School in Shreveport, the LSU Baton Rouge System first tried to bring sexual harassment charges against the Shreveport Medical School, namely the Chancellor, Dr. Ghali E. Ghali. The investigation led to Dr. Ghali being cleared of all charges, but now they have come against the school with other accusations,” Louisiana Sen. Greg Tarver (D) Dist. 39 said in a statement released early Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Ghali confirmed he is on temporary administrative while federal complaints filed against the medical school are reviewed.
LSU Health Shreveport issued a statement Monday night ackowledging they had been informed that federal complaints alleging retaliation, gender and race discrimination are being filed against them, noting that a Title IX review was completed last week and “did not find sufficient evidence to support any Title IX concern.”
“The institution has investigated every complaint to date and taken appropriate actions. LSU Health Shreveport stands ready to defend itself against these latest allegations,” the hospital said in its statement.
“Upon closer examination, it is apparent that the LSU System is attempting to take the heat off of LSU Baton Rouge by casting a shadow on the LSU Medical School in Shreveport for the sole benefit of LSU Baton Rouge,” Tarver said.
The federal complaints against LSU Health Shreveport come as LSU grapples with a system-wide Title IX scandal after a review prompted by an independent report determined LSU for years mishandled its response to student allegations of rape, domestic violence and assault, in some instances ignoring the claims entirely.
Former football coach Les Miles was pushed out of his coaching job at Kansas after the report detailed allegations of inappropriate behavior with students during his tenure at LSU. Ex-LSU System President F. King Alexander resigned from his job leading Oregon State because of his role in the mishandling of sexual misconduct cases at LSU. Current head coach Ed Orgeron has also come under fire for allegedly ignoring a sexual harassment complaint against one of his star players.
Sen. Tarver pulled no punches in his scathing statement Tuesday in defense of Ghali and North Louisiana in general.
“LSU Baton Rouge has never had any love for LSU Medical School in Shreveport. They act as if they care about us in Shreveport but they look at us very differently. In over twenty-eight years of serving in the State Senate, LSU Baton Rouge has never genuinely cared for North Louisiana. Right now their only concern is self-protection because the LSU System has not yet begun to touch the surface of the issues surrounding the school in Baton Rouge.”
They are looking for a scapegoat and that is LSU Medical School in Shreveport. With over 20 years of service on the Senate Finance Committee, I have heard, and witnessed, many Presidents of the LSU System refer to LSU Medical School in Shreveport as a second class citizen.
Their primary allegiance is to their precious LSU football in Baton Rouge. They have also enlisted help from people in Shreveport who have petty jealousies and personality conflicts to assist with tainting the reputation of a person that I know to be doing an excellent job at LSU Medical School in Shreveport. This is the best Chancellor we have had at the medical school since Dr. John McDonald, and by creating these unwarranted allegations they are not fairly serving the people of North Louisiana.”
“I respectfully disagree with Sen. Tarver’s claims,” LSU Board of Supervisors Chair Robert S. Dampf said in a statement early Tuesday evening. “In light of the allegations against Dr. Ghali, we immediately placed him on administrative leave until the EEOC can conduct its investigation. We felt this to be in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff and institution.”
“Despite claims of motivations stemming from a north-south divide,” Dampf said, “the reports about Dr. Ghali came directly from women who live and work in the Shreveport/Bossier community, not in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, or even Monroe.”
“We promote LSU Health Shreveport’s successes every chance we get. Their work has been integral to the success of LSU and Louisiana, from producing graduates who fill workforce shortages to cutting edge research at the Emerging Viral Threat Lab, the Feist Weiller Cancer Center and the Center for Brain Health. Statements asserting otherwise are made solely to create disharmony for political advantage, and have no place in logical conversations about a very complex situation.”
Interim President Tom Galligan sent a memo to the hospital’s faculty and staff Tuesday announcing that David Lewis, Dean of School of Medicine, Professor and Chairman of Obstetrics & Gynecology, will serve as Acting Chancellor while Ghali is on leave.
“I am grateful for his willingness to lead through this period,” Galligan said.
“I understand that this is a stressful and challenging situation, but I am confident in your ability to continue your great work under these circumstances.”