If everyone was wondering when Jessica Dorrell might actually go out in public again so an eager photog could snap a shot of how she is holding up amidst the scandal, or to tell her side of the story, we'll probably have to keep wondering a while longer. No one has seen, heard, or stolen a photo of the latest scandal girl since this story broke. Now that the University of Arkansas has placed the 25-year-old Dorrell on paid administrative leave, she has even less of an excuse to leave her house or wherever she's been holed up for the past week. Not that she was going to just show up at her desk business as usual or start talking to the media anyway. But at least being able to earn a paycheck while staying at home buys her more time to plot her next move.
Paid administrative leave is a fancy HR term for when your boss thinks you've done something wrong or bad, but he needs to look into it a little more before he cans you. That way he can say he did a thorough investigation into the matter and legally cover his ass. Firing Bobby Petrino was pretty much a no-brainer -- he lied numerous times about his motorcycle accident and about his relationship with an employee he hired into a $55,735 a year position in his program.
But the university knows it has to step cautiously around Dorrell. It appears that even though she went willingly into the relationship with the former Razorbacks coach, she may technically be a victim of sexual harassment due to Petrino's power position, and she may be considering legal action against the university. The university, via Petrino, is responsible for the mess she is in, after all, and her ruined reputation. I'm sure there are plenty of other legal fears batting around because of that.
Not only that, but it's in the university's own best interests for Dorrell to stay away and keep quiet about all that went on, because anything she does say -- to the media, her friends, her co-workers -- is just going to make them look worse. By making this a personnel matter, with the whole financial thing dangling as a carrot, Dorrell has even more reason to clam up.
But Dorrell can't keep hiding forever. Eventually she is going to have to tell her side of the story to someone. Sorry, but the world needs to know this before it's ever going to let her put it behind her and move on. It may not be right but it's just the way these things go.
Why do you think the university put Dorrell on paid leave instead of just outright firing her? What are they afraid of?
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