The Chairman of the Board of the Susan G. Komen foundation has stepped down from his position at the embattled breast cancer charity, claiming that the post interfered with his role as a provost at Howard University. But a source claims that the university pressured him to distance himself from the now-controversial charity. And Komen is freaking out.
Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. is an 81-year-old surgeon who previously served as Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2007. He was supposed to begin another 2 year term last March, but at the charity's meeting in Dallas yesterday, he announced that demands of his position as a provost at Howard University are making it impossible for him to serve out the remainder of his term. While he'll remain on the charity's board, he won't be the the Chair anymore.
Turns out, his excuse for stepping down was made in the same spirit as telling a guy you don't like that you can't go out with him because you're "really, super busy" — made to preserve the feelings of the other party, but ultimately not technically true.
The Washington Post reports that a source from inside Howard said that Dr. Leffall was pressured to distance himself from Komen not because of some inflated need for Leffall on campus at Howard, but rather because of Komen's controversial decision to discontinue providing grants to Planned Parenthood before running around for several days lying about it and then reinstating funding. The charity's become poisonous.
Nowhere is this sentiment better understood than at the charity's national headquarters. Morale is down. Fundraising is increasingly difficult. And Komen officials are dropping like flies.
Leffall's one of a string of high-profile Komenfolk to step down. Last week, the head of the Greater New York City affiliate of the charity quit after being a vocal critic of the way the Planned Parenthood fiasco was handled. The head of the Oregon affiliate has stepped down. And three officials at Komen headquarters in Dallas have quit.
Komen reportedly sent a pretty paranoid-sounding survey to its employees earlier this month, asking, among other things, whether they planned on leaving in the next year and what they thought about current Komen leadership. The charity hasn't released the results.