After LSU scandal, governor expected to sign collegiate misconduct law passed by La. lawmakers
BATON ROUGE – In the wake of LSU’s bombshell Title IX scandal, lawmakers have agreed to toughen the rules on how colleges must respond to allegations of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct.
State lawmakers in both the house and senate have agreed to stricter rules in separate legislation by Republican State Senator Beth Mizell and Democrat State Representative Aimee Freeman.
Wednesday, the Senate voted 36-0 for the law brought by Mizell, of Franklinton. That vote agreed to House changes to the bill and sent it to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Edwards supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.
The proposals aim to close loopholes found in previous college campus safety laws passed in recent years. They would require colleges to fire employees who don’t report sexual misconduct, harassment and abuse allegations covered under federal Title IX laws or who make reports that are knowingly false.
“This bill is for the students,” Freeman told the Associated Press.
The measures would also add new training requirements and detail when employees must report complaints or incidents they witness. They would ban retaliation against people who report allegations and limit their liability from lawsuits. And they would require detailed reports published online from campuses about how they handle Title IX claims.
LSU’s faced months of fallout after the Husch Blackwell report found mishandling of complaints, especially ones involving LSU start student-athletes. Louisiana’s female lawmakers held hours of hearings to go through the report and hear from students and others who said their abuse went unaddressed by university officials. The proposed laws grew out of those hearings.
Lawmakers were particularly frustrated over an LSU decision to briefly suspend two employees rather than fire anyone implicated in years of botched responses to misconduct allegations.
Former football coach Les Miles was fired from his coaching job at Kansas after the LSU scandal went public. Former LSU system President F. King Alexander faced mounting pressure and later resigned from his new job at Oregon State because of his role in the mishandling of sexual misconduct cases at LSU.
LSU officials argued the school followed all the Husch Blackwell recommendations for improvement and creating a new office to handle Title IX complaints.
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