LSUS Scandal: Threats, Racial Tension, Students Denied Free Speech, Safety Concerns, 100 Students Dropout, SACSCOC Investigates?

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Dr. Jeff St. John PhD
A National Hurricane of Cultural Tension Rising in LSUS Classroom as 100 Students Take Refuge?

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. & SHREVEPORT, La. - Sept. 26, 2018 - Rezul -- By Dr. Jeff St. John

During September, while the devastation of Hurricane Florence swept across the Carolinas, a different storm was brewing in Louisiana, generating nationwide offenses and lasting damage. It's since created a cyclone of ethical dilemmas and unanswered questions for one student still caught in the eye of this ongoing storm. Questions like ~ What's should a graduate student do when his professor at his university in a nationwide MHA program, violates students' Constitutional 1st Amendment Rights and: 1) deletes entire in-class discussions about concerns for student-safety, the safety of others, and how it will impact their in-class participation during the hurricane 2) deletes a request for the (White American) professor to practice inclusion of diversity and allow all students of diversity to participate fully in the course for which they've paid at this university, who's state is the home to the second largest Black American population in the US 3) deletes a student request for needed course materials and makes threats to delete all similar future posts when the multicultural class is comprised of populations that are notoriously underserved within our nation? And how exactly should he respond when he complains to the Dean of this university and she supports the professor's actions to "limit" student discussion and violate their 1st Amendment Rights, and continued weekly threats of violation persist? And, after filing complaints against the Dean and Professor for these actions with the university's HR Department, and the Dean seems to retaliate by inviting the student to leave the university when he's in his last class required for graduation, what corrective action should he take? How should he respond when no mutually agreeable resolution has been reached, and the Provost and Chancellor of the university have tossed the matter off to their General Council (for what seems to be a stall tactic and attempt to bury the issue in an abyss of bureaucracy until these disturbing questions blow over)? Does he join the ranks of the estimated 100 students who have already dropped this course in what appears to be a collective response to this professor's blatant disregard for students' academic needs, concerns for safety, and Constitutional Rights to free speech?

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These are the questions Dr. Jeff St. John, the California graduate student in the nationwide, Online MHA Program at LSUS, continues to face on a weekly basis in his HCAD 770 Econ course. Thinking the conditions in this course were an isolated case, he was hoping for a fair and mutual resolve. However, even more disturbing revelations have since come to light. After interviewing past and present students of the professor and former graduates of the MHA program for an upcoming radio show, new information has emerged which appears to highlight what could be a pattern of faculty's threats and intimidating students into silence about their complaints of unfair practices within the MHA Program at LSUS. It also appears this could be the possible cause for what some might consider racial tension within the MHA Program. According to correspondence obtained by Dr. St. John between LSUS faculty and an American student of Color from the program, it appears that the same Dean who backed the professor's present and ongoing threats to violate students' 1st Amendment Rights, also tried to intimidate a student into permitting her into the student's own personal, private social media page set up to be a closed group for emotional support where private citizens could speak freely. The Dean threatened that if the student did not allow her to be admitted into the student's personal, private social media page, that she would take action against her with the Judicial Review Committee, which typically decides if students can continue to attend the university. In what could easily be viewed by some as online bullying by the Dean, the student refused. The Dean, not having any legitimate reason to take judicial action, initially recanted. But, then told the student that all MHA professors would hear of the student's private, personal social media page. According to the obtained correspondence, the student seemed to feel intimidated by the Dean and feared further retaliation by the Dean and MHA faculty if she did not close down her private, personal media page. Statements obtained reveal the student saying, "The problem with reporting (the Dean's actions) is that I would be the only one targeted... She didn't seem to threaten anyone else but me...if I did report (the Dean) I would definitely not want to do so until after graduation because she seems retaliatory...It's bothered me for days...I've enjoyed these groups a lot and without them I would never have made it through..." The student went onto say, "How can one even prove that she wouldn't be retaliatory? She could easily fail me." The group was eventually dis-banned. And a significant number of students within the nationwide MHA Program are outraged by these ongoing unfair practices at LSUS. But many are too afraid to voice their opinion out of fear of retaliation by the faculty. Dr. St. John stated in a recent LA Talk Radio interview, "If this Dean and Professor had said to me before I enrolled in the nationwide LSUS MHA Online Program, 'Come to LSUS and we'll take away your Right to Free Speech, and delete your requests for inclusion of diversity and necessary educational resources', I never would have enrolled." Consequently, Dr. St. John has lodged a formal complaint with The SACSCOC, the board that accredits LSUS's MHA Program, for unspecified violations.

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With no satisfactory remedy reached, important racial and cultural questions among a widely diverse multicultural student body at the mercy of a mostly all white MHA faculty have emerged. What familiar scenario is recreated when a white person in power tells an American of Color what, where, and how to do things in his/her personal life? What chapter of history is being replayed when a white person threatens retaliation if the American of Color doesn't comply? Is it fair for that American to be threatened, intimidated, and to feel bullied online into complying with the white person's demands? How could this happen, and it not spark at least some undercurrent of racial tension? More importantly, when will it end? Dr. St. John wants to know your thoughts for an upcoming radio show.

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