Woman in Knight sexual harassment suit 'mortified' he's ASU keyn - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Woman in Knight sexual harassment suit 'mortified' he's ASU keynote speaker

Rep. John Knight. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo) Rep. John Knight. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

One of the three women who successfully sued Alabama State University and its former chief operating officer John Knight has written a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey urging her to do something to prevent him from being the keynote speaker at ASU's upcoming spring commencement ceremonies.

Jacqueline Weatherly, the lead plaintiff in a federal sexual harassment suit against Knight, wrote to Ivey Tuesday that she was "mortified to see he has been invited to be the keynote speaker..." and added that she "cannot imagine a more brazen, insensitive, and morally tone-deaf action by the ASU interim president and board of trustees..."

Weatherly, along with Cynthia Williams and Lydia Burkhalter, sued Knight in 2010 for sexual harassment, for creating a hostile work environment, and for retaliation. ASU unsuccessfully defended Knight in court and on appeal at a cost of several million dollars. 

Each of the plaintiffs is a former ASU employee. Knight retired as ASU's COO in 2014 after the university's then-president Gwendolyn Boyd eliminated his longstanding position as executive vice president. He's also a Democratic state representative representing Montgomery.

"We endured enormous suffering, disgrace, mental anguish, and humiliation at the hands of Rep. John Knight," Weatherly wrote. "Rep. Knight did not face any consequences-personal or professional- for his actions."

She is asking Ivey, who is by virtue of her office the head of each of the state's college boards, to stop Knight from speaking at the commencement. It's not clear if or when Ivey would make a decision. The commencement takes place Sunday.

WSFA 12 News has reached out to ASU and the governor's office for reaction to the letter. While ASU has not responded, the governor has stated she has no comment on the matter and will speak with Rep. Knight "at a later time."

Knight and Alabama State have always maintained innocence in the case.

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