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LSU changes Title IX policy, says it will fire employees who don't report violations

1 month 3 weeks 2 days ago Thursday, April 29 2021 Apr 29, 2021 April 29, 2021 1:46 PM April 29, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - LSU has revised its Title IX policies, saying employees who knowingly neglect to report abuse will be fired.

Interim University President Tom Galligan released a statement Thursday announcing ther change and saying the school had chosen Daniel Swinton to serve as the Title IX office's interim coordinator. Swinton comes from the TNG consulting agency, which specializes in Title IX. 

In the announcement, the school said it would terminate any employee who is "required to report instances of power-based trauma and fails to promptly make the report without good cause or, with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly makes a report that is false."

The change comes as the school continues to grapple with the fallout of Husch Blackwell's review of the school's Title IX policies, which found that the school had mishandled several cases of alleged sexual misconduct. 

Read the full statement below. 

"As we continue to implement our Title IX action plan and the recommendations made by Husch Blackwell, we want to share several important updates with you.

We understand the importance of having a Title IX coordinator whose sole responsibility is to serve in that capacity on campus, and that’s why we have brought in Daniel Swinton to serve as interim Title IX coordinator.

Dr. Swinton, who serves as vice president of the Association for Title IX Administrators, is a partner in TNG LLC, who frequently consults with universities on Title IX issues, the Violence Against Women Act and sexual violence, alcohol and other drugs, behavioral intervention, bystander intervention, student conduct policies and procedures, hearing board training, mediation, and legal issues in education. Prior to his work with TNG, he served as assistant dean and director of student conduct and academic integrity at Vanderbilt University.

We welcome Dr. Swinton, and we are confident that his expertise in the area of Title IX will be a tremendous help as we transition needed resources to this area. Additionally, we continue to add more staff in the new Office of Civil Rights & Title IX at the center of campus in Himes Hall, which includes our current searches for a case manager, investigator, and assistant to the vice president.

We also understand that having firm policies in place is an important step in addressing some of our past failures outlined in the Husch Blackwell report. To that end, we have revised PM-73: Title IX Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct. The policy revision clearly states that any employee who is required to report instances of power-based trauma and fails to promptly make the report without good cause or, with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly makes a report that is false, shall be terminated.

We are committed to building trust through our actions, and our work has only just begun. As we implement more changes and take additional actions on Title IX, we will keep you informed every step of the way."

The policy, known as PM-73, will still need additional revisions. The 26-page document does not detail who is required to report. 

An LSU spokesman told WBRZ Thursday evening, all employees except 'confidential advisors such as victims' advocates, mental health counselors, or LSU ombudsperson' are required to report. 

The Husch Blackwell report, released in March, found 'there is no guidance' in university policy 'on what the consequences of failing to make a required report are.' 

The report recommended :

(a) the University should immediately clarify in institutional
policy the employees who are required to make mandatory reports both under Title IX and
pursuant to the Clery Act;

(b) that policy should stress who the reports must be made to
and outline how to satisfy reporting obligations;

and (c) the policy should make clear the
consequences to employees for failing to make a report.

Hours after the university announced the policy change, an LSU spokesman released the following statement to WBRZ when asked about additional additions or revisions to the document.

This was the initial change to add the termination information, but they will be further revamped to clarify the policies to the language being presented in the bills by the legislature. Once those bills are final, our policies will reflect those changes.

Several bills, including HB 409, by Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman, would require universities and colleges to fire employees who fail to report 'power-based abuse' while also strengthening the reporting requirements, sailed through the house, and is scheduled to be heard in the senate next week. 

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