As survivors speak out, scrutiny of LSU intensifies
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University, an institution that's played a prominent role in the heart of Baton Rouge culture since the 1920's, is under public and even federal scrutiny for its role in a series of recent events involving some of the school's top officials and talented athletes.
Each event involves a case of alleged sexual assault, abuse, or misconduct at the hands of a member of the LSU community that was allegedly reported and mishandled by university officials.
LSU joins a host of colleges across the U.S. that continue to battle a series of problems related to the mishandling of sexual assault/abuse cases on campus.
According to statistics from Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 13% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation, and the vast majority of survivors are female.
Over the years, institutions such as Presbyterian College, Baylor University, Arizona State University, Vanderbilt, and the University of Southern California have been the scene of incidents of sexual assault that drew national attention for their gruesome nature.
Each of the cases at the previously mentioned schools involved student athletes who were accused as aggressors in the attacks.
Similarly, recent criticism of LSU is a result of reports that nine of its football players have had allegations and complaints of sexual misconduct or violence against women since current head football coach, Ed Orgeron began running the program in September of 2016.
Among the accused athletes are former running back, Derrius Guice, who was accused of rape and harassment and former wide receiver Drake Davis, who was arrested on multiple charges that included domestic violence and assault.
Survivors say they told university officials what was happening, but their concerns were not properly addressed.
As an increasing number of survivors come forward, sharing their claims with local lawmakers and with the public, a number of LSU's officials now find themselves the subject of intense scrutiny, even by the federal government.
Representatives for the university confirmed Tuesday, April 6 that the federal government's U.S. Office of Education has launched its own investigation into LSU's response to complaints of sexual assault and sexual harassment from 2018 through the present day.
USA Today reported Tuesday that LSU was notified of the federal investigation by means of a March 31 letter that stated the university must submit information to the government by April 20.
As federal investigators proceed with their case, state lawmakers intend to hold their next hearing with LSU Thursday, April 8.
The lawmakers requested that top officials with the school's athletics department, such as Coach Ed Orgeron and Athletic Director Scott Woodward be in attendance.
Both Orgeron and Woodward provided written documentation negating this request, confirming that they had no intention of attending the April 8 hearing.
In any case, as a number of U.S. universities continue to experience similar issues involving cases of sexual assault and abuse, the government requires such institutions to address cases swiftly and thoroughly.
Should an institution fail to do so, survivors can take legal action. They are also encouraged to speak with professionals in regards to emotional support.
One source of support may be found in The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org.
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