La. colleges to adopt uniform sexual misconduct policy
BATON ROUGE - All Louisiana colleges and universities will be on the same page by the end of the year when it comes to sexual misconduct.
The Louisiana Board of Regents approved a statewide uniform sexual misconduct policy this week. The policy identifies the best practices to prevent and address sexual assault.
It requires all institutions to coordinate with law enforcement and health organizations to resolve incidents of sexual misconduct. Campuses must offer annual education and prevention programs to students. The uniform policy also requires resources that must be available to victims of sexual assault.
"I think it's an added measure of confidence for Louisiana students and for students coming into the state of Louisiana to study that they can go to any Louisiana public institution and know that that institution takes this issue seriously," said LSU Associate Dean of Students Dr. Matt Gregory.
The most recent numbers available show ten reported cases of forcible sexual assaults on LSU's campus from 2013 and three cases on Southern's campus. Students feel a uniform policy will help to bring the issue to the surface.
"I think once we get a buy-in from everyone, then that will be good, because this is a serious issue," said LSU graduate student Kristin Satterlee. "It will only be taken care of or start to be taken care of if everyone is serious about it."
Both campuses will benefit from recently updating sexual misconduct policies this past summer, but LSU and Southern will need to tweak its policy to comply.
"We just need to make sure that what we have in place is in line with what the board of regents put out," said Southern Dean of Students Marcus Coleman. "Our policy is not too far off. There may be some minor cosmetic changes that we have to do, but as far as our investigation proceeds, our disciplinary reaction, all that stuff is in place already."
"For the most part LSU will need to solidify the task force on sexual misconduct," said Gregory. "We have a group of individuals, but we haven't necessarily called it a task force. We will also have to make sure that we comply with the requirement to do a campus climate survey."
Baton Rouge Community College says its policy is very close to the uniform policy, but some fine-tuning will need to be done. Colleges and universities must make efforts to comply with the uniform policy by this summer and formally adopt the policy by October.