Brandon Dumas

Brandon Dumas

Southern University Vice Chancellor Brandon Dumas has been fired following a tumultuous period for the university.

But Dumas, who oversees student affairs and enrollment management, will appeal the termination at a hearing before the Southern University Board of Supervisors on Friday. 

"Dr. Brandon Dumas was given a termination notice with an effective date of August 10, 2017," said Henry Tillman, a university spokesman in a statement. "He remains on leave until that time. Dr. Dumas has requested to appeal the notice with the SU Board of Supervisors." 

He added that the university had no other comment on the personnel matter. Dumas could not be reached for comment.

The top Southern administrator was placed on administrative leave on June 23, also without explanation from the university about why officials were taking that step.

That punishment was handed to him the same week school officials said they were looking into a possible "cyber crime" that involved a sex tape making rounds through circles of Southern University alumni. The school said the videos may have involved a student and an employee. The videos, which appeared to be taken on the smart phone app Snapchat, were less than about 10 seconds each and had initially been posted to a porn site called Xtube. 

That same week, the university was placed on a one-year warning list with its accrediting body, which leaves the school at risk to potentially lose federal dollars. Southern receives its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, one of the six major accrediting bodies in the U.S. for higher education institutions.

Dumas's university biography says he served on Southern University's SACS reaffirmation committee. 

On the day news reports circulated about the sex tape, an administrative assistant to a Southern University dean sent an email — obtained by The Advocate through a public records request — to two school administrators alerting them to Internet speculation that Dumas might have been involved in the video.

Southern University System President Ray Belton notified the Southern Board on June 23 that it would put Dumas on administrative leave.

"As all of you know, this has been a difficult week for the Southern University family," Belton wrote in an email announcing the disciplinary review. "The review will include the external investigation by Winston Decuir, Jr., an on-going internal investigation by Human Resources and a complete review of the organizational structure of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs."

Dumas' department at Southern had been the target of recent online criticism. Four months ago, a petition on Change.org purported to be started by Southern University alumni asked for Southern's board to investigate "the Division for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management," claiming it was plagued by mismanagement and other problems.

While the investigation refers to Dumas's title, he is not named specifically in the petition. It has about 730 signatures.

Both Board Chairwoman Ann Smith and President Belton posted responses to the petition.

"I take this opportunity to assure you that the University administration does not take your comments lightly," Belton wrote in an April response. "I had previously begun to assess the assertions made in your petition with the appropriate personnel and am continuing to do so. I hope to complete that assessment in the very near future."

According to his university biography, Dumas became one of the school's youngest administrators in the history of the institution in 2012, when he was named vice chancellor for student affairs at the age of 27. He was promoted to vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management in 2014. At the time of his initial appointment, Dumas's father Walter sat on the Southern University Board of Supervisors, which approves salary increases and administrative hires. Walter Dumas was also a longtime Southern University booster.

Brandon Dumas served as one of four vice chancellors who answers directly to the president's office. His biography notes he handled an annual budget of $25 million overseeing areas including student life, admissions and recruitment, financial aid, the Center for Student Success, and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence.

Dumas also served as the board chairman of the East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging, but stepped down from that position recently after it was reported he didn't live East Baton Rouge Parish, as required by the agency's bylaws.

At the Friday board meeting, along with Dumas's termination hearing, Belton will receive his annually scheduled performance evaluation from the board.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen.