Five more women have come forward to say they were sexually harassed at the Louisiana State University medical school in Shreveport, echoing allegations made last month by four women in a formal complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported.
The Advocate said the five women are not involved in any legal action because the alleged incidents they described occurred several years ago and could therefore not be part of an EEOC complaint. However, the women alleged many of the same acts, including unwanted touching and kissing by male officials at the medical school.
The medical school chancellor, Ghali E. Ghali, MD, DDS, was placed on administrative leave in April while LSU investigates allegations that he suppressed students’ sexual harassment complaints and disciplined faculty who supported the students.
Several news outlets reported that four employee complaints — two from physicians — were filed April 12 with the EEOC. The complaints, which are not available to the public, allege that a former administrator inappropriately touched 16 female medical students and spoke inappropriately to them.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the lawyer for the four women, Allison A. Jones, said it’s not surprising other complaints have been aired about the med school, The Advocate said.
“I believe we have seen just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to misconduct at LSU Medical School in Shreveport,” she said. “For some reason, there is reluctance to do what must be done — and this is to clean house and permanently change the current leadership at LSU Medical School in Shreveport so that the culture can become one that promotes gender equity and diversity and is conducive to their mission to teach, heal, and to discover.”
The Advocate said Ghali did not respond to comment on Wednesday but has denied the allegations.
The Louisiana Daily News says allegations also include that the head of admissions required female students to write book reports on pornographic stories. Both of those accused administrators announced their retirement shortly after the allegations surfaced, according to the same report.
The Associated Press also described allegations of retaliation for professors who sided with the students.
According to the AP, “[T]he complaints allege that two professors were denied promotions and a third was demoted and became the target of an official investigation because they supported the students.”
In one complaint, assistant professor and director for academic affairs at LSU Health Shreveport Christi Rinaudo, EdD, said, “I have witnessed and been informed about numerous incidents of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliatory actions perpetrated by Dr Ghali and other members of senior leadership with his knowledge and support,” the Louisiana Daily News reported.
Rinaudo did not respond to Medscape’s request for further comment.
LSU interim President Tom Galligan emailed this statement to LSU Health Shreveport employees: “We have been made aware of several EEOC allegations against LSU Health Shreveport. In light of this, we believe the right thing to do is to place Chancellor Ghali on administrative leave until a thorough review is conducted,” the Daily News reported.