Legal director for sexual assault, advocacy group calls Alexander’s response to her testimony ‘deliberately obtuse’

Archived Photo of Oregon State University President F. King Alexander

Millicent Durand, News Contributor

Editor’s Note: Content warning—story contains mention of sexual harassment and assault.

The legal director of a Louisiana-based advocacy group says Oregon State University President F. King Alexander’s response to her testimony about Title IX rulings at his previous university was “deliberately obtuse.”

Morgan Lamandre, legal director for Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, went before the Louisiana Select Committee on Women and Children to testify regarding LSU’s handling of sexual assault, saying that Alexander allegedly “overturned the decisions and findings of responsibility.”

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During yesterday’s faculty meeting, Alexander was asked the following question by Selina Heppell, Ph.D, president of the faculty senate.

“I want to press you a little bit on [a previous question where Alexander claimed he would never alter the findings of an investigation] because Morgan Lamandre, legal director for STAR, a sexual assault group and advocacy group in Louisiana, told LA lawmakers last week during the meeting of the Select Committee on Women and Children, that you personally overturned Title IX rulings at LSU that involved sexual assault survivors that she represented. Is she lying?”

Alexander responded with, “i would never overturn, to my recollection—I have not overturned in 20 years. I even asked my general counsel Tom Skinner if he was aware of anything, anytime that had happened, and he was unaware of that and will clearly testify to that—if anybody were to ask him.”

Upon being asked for comment, Lamandre provided the following statement:

“President Alexander’s response to my statement is deliberately obtuse,” Lamandre said. “Last week during the committee hearing I said that he has ‘overturned the decisions and findings of responsibility for these survivors to have to go back through the process over and over again.’ What I meant when I said that is he exercised his power under a provision of the LSU student code of conduct that allowed the president to review an outcome, then either change the outcome or refer the case back to another hearing panel. I know of two cases where he reviewed the case and sent it back to another hearing panel. This required the survivors to go through a very long and daunting process, twice, and because he sent the cases back to be heard again, the perpetrators were allowed to continue attending classes on campus even though the original hearing panel members imposed suspensions as punishment.

Lamandre also said she didn’t say that Alexander interfered with any investigations. 

“No one ever said he has ever ‘altered an investigation’ or the ‘findings of an investigation.’ I said he overturned the decisions and findings of responsibility,” Lamandre said.

A Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 12:30 to 5 p.m. on March 17, according to a campus-wide email sent out on March 15.

In this meeting, the Board of Trustees will “review the Husch Blackwell report issued on behalf of the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and report back to the OSU community. That review prompted the scheduling this week of a board meeting,” the email said.

Information on how to attend these meetings, or to sign up to make a public comment can be found on the board of trustees’ website.