State lawmakers unsatisfied with LSU's response to bombshell report calling for former university leaders to testify
BATON ROUGE - Legislators unhappy with LSU's response to a report detailing years of mishandled sexual misconduct claims say they will now demand that former university officials testify about their actions.
The Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, which convened a marathon hearing last week that sharply criticized the administration's reaction to the report and particularly the severity of the punishments meted out, has set another hearing for March 26.
"I would like for them to take a little bit more responsibility in terms of those individuals who were involved, that may still be there," Sen. Regina Barrow, a Democrat, and the committee's chair said. "If they are still there, then we need to make sure that all of those individuals are handled properly according to the action that they were responsible for."
For this second hearing, the committee wants to hear from leaders no longer at LSU, specifically past chairs of the Board of Supervisors, dating back to 2012, and athletics directors from the same period, which is when the cases highlighted in the Husch Blackwell report took place.
Some on the committee are focused less on creating new legislation around this kind of conduct than they are in ensuring the enforcement of existing laws, and providing oversight and accountability to prevent future violations, regardless of who is in leadership.
"How many opportunities there were for somebody to stop the wrongdoing and shine a light on what was happening, and it never happened," Sen. Beth Mizell, a Republican, said. "I think that was the disappointment, personally, that I feel."
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Barrow said her committee does have subpoena power should any of the former leaders not voluntarily show up.
Mizell, Barrow, and their colleagues vow to continue the fight for accountability and responsibility, urging people not to move on until the change leaders are promising becomes a reality.
"The young people at LSU should not be tolerating this," Mizell said. "We can do better, we expect better. We love LSU, and there's no reason we can turn our eye and start focusing on football this year when we know there is this dark underbelly going on that's being tolerated."