Food Incubator

Southern Art is one of the food ventures using the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator to develop different sauces.

A researcher in the LSU AgCenter was reinstated July 12 after going on paid administrative leave in April while LSU investigated a Title IX sexual harassment case against him, university officials said.

Niranjan Baisakh, who was reported to have sexually harassed and assaulted a graduate student in a series of events from 2014 to 2016, will return but will not have graduate faculty status, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report. He will not be able to supervise or work on projects directly with any graduate students. 

LSU researchers said Baisakh will still be able to be in contact with graduate and undergraduate students while doing his own research, just without the honorable graduate faculty status.

LSU officials declined to comment on Baisakh’s case, since it is a personnel matter. However, even after Baisakh’s case came to light earlier this year, he was not removed from the faculty. He was allowed to continue research at the AgCenter during a “pause” in his academic tenure from 2017-2020. He was only prohibited from working with graduate students.

Baisakh’s academic tenure was briefly reinstated until the Business Report filed a public record request in March about the case, where he was then placed on paid administrative leave until the results of the review came out.

LSU officials refuse to reveal much about the results of the case review. Several LSU faculty members said “pausing” academic tenure and then reinstating it is very unusual in higher education. Officials did confirm however that AgCenter Vice President and dean of the College of Agriculture Bill Richardson approved the decision.

At the time, AgCenter policy granted the vice president the authority to make such decisions. LSU Vice President of Strategic Communications Jim Sabourin said in recent weeks, the policy changed, and the LSU President must now approve any personnel matters of the AgCenter.

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