Oregon State President F. King Alexander Put on Probation over Les Miles Scandal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., gets help standing for the national anthem from his wife Jennifer Scalise, left, and F. King Alexander, LSU President and Chancellor with before an NCAA college football game against Troy in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Scalise is an LSU alumnus and recently returned to public life after being shot in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

Oregon State University has placed president F. King Alexander on probation following the discovery of a report outlining how LSU handled allegations of sexual misconduct against then-football coach Les Miles while Alexander was the school president.

ESPN's Heather Dinich reported the Oregon State board of trustees voted 12-2 in favor of placing Alexander on probation through June 1.

Alexander was president of LSU from 2013 to 2019.

In February, USA Today's Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Jessica Luther reported LSU had looked into allegations of sexual harassment against Miles in 2013, though Alexander was not mentioned in the report. The school prohibited Miles from having contact with student employees after he allegedly texted female students and invited them to his condo.

In November, LSU hired law firm Husch Blackwell to conduct an investigation into those allegations and wider concerns about whether the university adequately managed allegations of sexual misconduct, including multiple allegations made against student-athletes during Alexander's time as school president.

Husch Blackwell's report included an email from then-athletic director Joe Alleva to Alexander in 2013, shortly before he officially became president, in which he advocated for firing Miles for cause.

Brody Miller @BrodyAMiller

New information. Former #LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 to fire Les Miles with cause and said the public opinion would be in LSU's favor. https://t.co/x1C6TzOX6a

When Alleva resigned in 2019, the Daily Advertiser's Glenn Guilbeau noted the AD had attempted to fire Miles during the 2015 season as well but was overruled by Alexander.

LSU fired Miles in September 2016.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times' Jarrid Denney reported Alexander's LSU tenure was referenced throughout the board meeting to determine Oregon State's next steps:

"The meeting's public comment section was marked by passionate testimony from members of the OSU community expressing a lack of trust and growing concern over Alexander's track record. Each of the 19 people who spoke was highly critical of Alexander's responses to the Husch Blackwell report and to testimony given to Louisiana lawmakers. Many of those who commented called on Alexander to resign or be removed. ...

"The emotional toll on survivors of sexual misconduct and relationship violence in the OSU community was apparent during public comments, as numerous speakers discussed the retraumatizing nature of recent reports regarding Alexander’s actions at LSU."

As part of his probation, Alexander "must formulate a concrete plan to regain the trust of the OSU community and address community feedback." He must also review the Husch Blackwell report to determine how Oregon State could improve its policies and procedures.