In A Flash

LSU fires graduate assistant who left vulgar voicemail for state senator

By: - July 20, 2023 5:29 pm
The Memorial Tower on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge

LSU’s Memorial Tower displays the time on Monday, March 20, 2023, on Tower Drive in Baton Rouge. (Matthew Perschall for Louisiana Illuminator)

An LSU graduate assistant will be relieved of his teaching duties — but remain at the school as a student — after leaving a vulgar voicemail for a state senator, the university confirmed Thursday.

The student, Marcus Venable, was incorrectly identified as a professor at LSU by conservative commentator Greg Price, who circulated a voicemail Venable allegedly left for Sen. Mike Fesi, R-Houma. In the message, he condemned Fesi for his floor speech Tuesday during the Louisiana’s Legislature’s one-day veto override session in support of a ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender youth.

The student was identified by a law enforcement officer after Fesi reported the message, Price said in a follow-up tweet.

Price’s tweet was shared by national conservative commentators, including the far-right account Libs of TikTok, as well as by conservatives in the Louisiana Legislature, who called on LSU to dismiss Venable.

Republican Reps. Blake Miguez of New Iberia, Beryl Amedee of Houma, Gabe Firment of Pollock and Sen. Stewart Cathey of Monroe all shared tweets condemning the student.

U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins also shared a tweet seemingly alluding to Venable’s death.

“As a university, we foster open and respectful dialogue. Like everyone, graduate students with teaching assignments have the right to express their opinions, but this profanity-filled, threatening call crossed the line,” LSU spokesperson Abbi Rocha Laymoun said in a statement to the Illuminator. “This does not exhibit the character we expect of someone given the privilege of teaching as part of their graduate assistantship. The student will be allowed to continue their studies but will not be extended the opportunity to teach in the future.”

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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.