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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Southern University Board Chair comes under investigation for harrassment


Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana has hired a lawyer to investigate allegations that her assistant chief of staff sexually harrassed employees of the Southern University System. Ms. Blanco’s aide, Johnny G. Anderson, is also chairman of the system’s governing body, the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Anderson told The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge, La., that he is innocent, and would not step down from his university post or his job with the governor. State Sen. Cleo Fields, a Democrat from Baton Rouge, called on Governor Blanco to ask Mr. Anderson to step aside for fear that he could influence the investigation from either or both of his positions. Mr. Fields said he would introduce a resolution next month in a special session of the state Legislature that would prohibit members of the governor’s staff from simultaneously serving on government boards.

The allegations against Mr. Anderson are unclear. The governor’s special counsel, Kimberly Robinson, said that her office had not seen specifics of the complaints from employees. The issue came to light when the university system’s president, Ralph Slaughter, sent a letter about the complaints to another state senator, Charles Jones, a Democrat from Monroe, La., asking him to look into the matter.

Mr. Anderson was re-elected on Friday to a third term as chairman of the system’s board.

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