A Southern University System vice president was placed on paid administrative leave this week, following a complaint that he sexually harassed a former employee. 

Southern University Vice President Lester Pourciau oversaw Human Resources for the Southern System colleges and universities, the same department that processes the kind of complaint made against him. Pourciau was the school's internal investigator when the school cleared Johnny Anderson, Southern's then-board chairman, of wrongdoing after he was accused by seven women in 2006 of sexual harassment.

Anderson resigned in November this year from his job as Gov. John Bel Edwards' deputy chief of staff when new allegations of sexual harassment emerged against him while working in the State Capitol.

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“Every employee and student has the right to a safe, positive working and learning environment,” said Ray Belton, Southern University System president. “We will do everything in our power to ensure such. This includes not only training but an effective process to report alleged wrongdoing. As with any situation that affects our University family, we will remain as transparent as possible, and hold accountable any parties who have violated policies and procedures.”

Reached by telephone Friday Pourciau said, "I have no comment."

Officials of the office will temporarily report to Flandus McClinton, vice-president for finance and business affairs while school officials investigate the complaint.

Pourciau is the second recent Southern University system administrator to be accused of sexual misconduct in recent months. In August, former Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas was fired after he was implicated in a widely circulated sexually explicit video that Southern officials said may have involved an employee and a student.

Dumas is currently suing Southern University, saying his firing was procedurally improper. 

In 2006, Pourciau was Southern's human resources director, and was in charge of the investigation into Anderson, who was both a Southern Board chair and Gov. Kathleen Blanco's assistant chief of staff. Pourciau ultimately reported that the accusations he investigated did not conclusively illustrate sexual harassment had occurred.

Out of seven women to accuse Anderson of sexual harassment in 2007, only two agreed to be interviewed, Pourciau reported. 

"Because of these five women's reluctance to become involved in the matter, I could not perform a complete investigation," he said in his 2007 report. 

 

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.

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