BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Editor-in-chief of the Louisiana State University campus newspaper, “The Reveille,” filed a lawsuit Monday against the school saying it refused to release requested public records.
The public records requested by student Josh Archote were related to an investigation into the possible misconduct of former Greek Life administrator Donald Abels, according to Archote’s attorneys.
Accusations of hacking and fake online accounts from 2019 resurfaced in September 2022 after a Tennessee college newspaper’s report. Abels was accused of trying to entrap fraternity members into violating criminal laws and school policies while serving as LSU Greek Life assistant director.
Archote requested records related to LSU’s internal investigation in late September, but the university denied the request, claiming that internal investigations into employee conduct did not apply to the state public records law, attorneys said.
“The LSU community and broader public deserve to know how the university handled the
alleged misconduct of a former Greek Life administrator,” said Archote. “Its denial of our
requests to inspect such records is yet another example of LSU’s lack of transparency. Despite
the university’s efforts, The Reveille is committed to informing Louisianans about what’s going
on inside their flagship university.”
Documents later released by LSU Police showed that detectives concluded that Abels did not break any criminal laws. However, the lawsuit states that the requested records “would inform the public about whether and how the taxpayer-funded University investigates allegations against its staff.”
Archote’s attorneys said the lawsuit asks the court to require LSU to produce the requested public records, pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and award Archote any damages civil penalties he may be entitled to.
“We do not comment on pending or active litigation,” an LSU spokesperson said Tuesday when asked about the lawsuit.
Read the full lawsuit below: