Former LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander wrote in a letter Monday that he regrets not taking stronger action when faced with allegations that former LSU head football coach Les Miles had sexually harassed female students.
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Alexander wrote that shortly after he became LSU's president in 2013, LSU board members, a Taylor Porter attorney, LSU's general counsel and he received the results of a sexual misconduct inquiry into Miles. Alexander, now the president of Oregon State University, said the investigation into Miles began in 2012 — before Alexander took the post at LSU.
"At the time, we were told by attorneys that there wasn’t evidence that could support termination," Alexander wrote. "Though not substantiated to support termination, the results of the initial inquiry into Coach Miles were inconsistent with my and LSU’s community values and should have been acted on further."
The Taylor Porter investigation — released last week after a lawsuit from USA Today — found that Miles had been accused of kissing a female student twice, "unwanted touching," telling her he was attracted to her and suggesting that they go to a hotel or to his condo together. Miles has repeatedly denied kissing the student or any other inappropriate behavior. Some of the other allegations in the Taylor Porter investigation remain secret; they are completely redacted.
After the investigation, Miles' supervisors directed him to stop texting, calling and messaging student employees. LSU also ordered the coach to stop hiring female students to babysit his children and to stop being alone with them. He was also made to attend eight one-hour sessions that he had to pay for and attend with an attorney.
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More details about Miles also emerged in the newly released report from Husch Blackwell about how LSU has handled allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic violence over the last several years. Husch Blackwell did not offer a position on whether the allegations against Miles were true, but disagreed with the advice from Taylor Porter and said that LSU failed to properly respond to those allegations involving such a powerful employee of the athletic department.
An email contained in the Husch Blackwell report showed that former LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva tried to fire Miles in 2013. Alleva took his concerns about Miles' behavior to two former LSU presidents: Alexander and William Jenkins, who was the interim president during the search for Alexander.
But Husch Blackwell located no responses to Alleva's messages calling on LSU's higher ups to fire Miles.
"In hindsight, beyond limitations that were put into place between the coach and students, I now regret that we did not take stronger action earlier against Coach Miles, including suspension leading to further investigation and dismissal for violations of university policy, before I ordered him terminated in early fall 2016," Alexander wrote.
Former LSU head football coach Les Miles reached a settlement with a former student who accused him of harassment several years ago, and the s…
When Alexander fired Miles from LSU, it was amid failure on the football field, rather than because of the sexual harassment investigation.
Miles, who became the head football coach at the University of Kansas in 2018, agreed to part ways with the university on Monday.
The allegations about Alexander in the Husch Blackwell report go deeper than just his handling of the Miles case. Husch Blackwell found several instances of people warning that LSU needed better policies and more staff for investigating complaints of sexual harassment and other similar types of misconduct.
There was little action. Alexander wrote that he believed complaints about sexual misconduct were fully investigated while he was LSU's president, and that he was disheartened to learn otherwise.
Coaches prattle on about the importance of putting their teams in position to win.
"Given the experiences of survivors documented in the LSU report, I acknowledge we should have moved faster in more fully staffing and increasing the budget for the Title IX office and its efforts," Alexander wrote.
Alexander left LSU for Oregon State last year.