Southern University on Friday suspended one of its top administrators, though school officials wouldn't say if the move is related to being warned it could lose its accreditation or to a brewing scandal over a "private" video recording that the school acknowledged could possibly involve a student and employee.
Southern University System President Ray Belton announced he was placing Brandon Dumas, the vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, on administrative leave "pending a complete review of the procedures, practices, and activities of the Southern University Baton Rouge Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management."
The statement does not cite a reason, and Southern University System spokesman Henry Tillman said there would be no additional comment on the personnel matter.
But the announcement comes on the heels of two public relations disasters the school has endured this week.
Southern University officials are looking into reports of a sexually explicit video posted o…
On Wednesday, the school confirmed it was looking into reports of a sexually explicit video that was posted online that may have involved a student and employee. Tillman said there was potential that a "cyber crime" had been committed.
At least two videos, each less than 10 seconds, were identified on porn website XTube and then widely circulated among Southern alumni and students.
"Southern University has received reports regarding a private video posted and shared online allegedly involving a university employee and/or student," Tillman said in a statement. "The University recognizes this matter involves a private video that may have been posted online without the consent of the owner."
"Should the University determine this matter involves employees and/or students we will evaluate whether any policies have been violated and take appropriate action," he said. "We will continue to be proactive with our students and staff to ensure their safety and well being both on campus and online."
On Thursday, The Advocate reported that Southern University in Baton Rouge 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.
Southern received the sanction and will have the next year to provide evidence it has "an adequate number of full-time faculty to support its mission and ensure the quality and integrity of its programs," according to a SACS public disclosure released Friday. The school must also improve benchmarks related to identifying student outcomes, assessing student achievement and improving education programs. The school also was flagged for its procedures dealing with student complaints, which will have to be remedied in order to be removed from the warning list.
Southern University was warned last week that it could lose its accreditation that is requir…
A warning is the lightest of three possible sanctions SACS can issue to schools. Schools can also be placed on probation or have their accreditation revoked entirely. Without accreditation the school cannot issue degrees or receive federal grants.
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 promotion, 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 serves as one of four vice chancellors who answers directly to the president's office. His biography notes he handles 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.
The biography also says Dumas serves on Southern University's SACS reaffirmation committee.
Luria Young, the interim system executive vice president provost, will assume Dumas's responsibilities until further notice, Belton said.