Thursday's Title IX hearing goes on despite significant lack of LSU witnesses
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers are determined to move forward in their attempt to wrest detailed information related to LSU's Title IX failures from university officials during a Thursday, April 8 hearing.
This Thursday hearing, created in hopes of providing LSU representatives with a platform from which they can explain why past cases of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse were not appropriately addressed, will proceed despite the fact that far more legislators than witnesses will be in attendance.
It’s mainly press that showed up to the third special meeting with the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children. A list of LSU leaders were supposed to testify about Title IX policies. The University blocked that due to pending litigation ?@WBRZ? pic.twitter.com/JQGunxwgwo— Sydney Kern (@sydneykern) April 8, 2021
A number of LSU representatives, such as LSU's head football coach Ed Orgeron, who were called upon to testify Thursday, declined the in-person invitation and said they'd prefer to provide lawmakers with written testimony.
In addition to this, LSU's legal counsel announced Wednesday that due to a pending lawsuit against the university, other LSU employees were encouraged to decline the invitation to participate in the April 8 hearing.
Early Thursday morning, WBRZ learned that at least one key LSU representative will be on hand to address the senate. The university's head legal counsel, Winston Decuir, is expected to be in attendance.
Despite the lack of participation from LSU representatives, lawmakers are determined to move forward with this third Senate hearing related to LSU's Title IX probe.
To date, each senate hearing has been called with the expectation that LSU officials will provide state leaders with a clear explanation as to why the university failed to follow Title IX procedures in its handling of alleged cases of sexual misconduct and abuse involving student-athletes, employees, and other members of the LSU community.
After listening to accounts from various university representatives, state lawmakers feel they need more information.
Senator Regina Barrow expressed disappointment in the significant number of witnesses who are expected to be absent from Thursday's hearing, saying, "I am very disappointed that we don't have anyone from the system showing up. Coach Orgeron, to me, I think should have still been able to come and testify. And again, as I mentioned before, there are people who are not mentioned in the laswsuit that I believe could have testified, for sure."
The pending lawsuit against LSU that served as the reason for the university's legal counsel advising employees to steer clear of Thursday's hearing is expected to be filed by attorneys who represent LSU Athletics executive, Sharon Lewis.
Her attorneys claimed, during a Wednesday morning news conference, that Lewis was the victim of retaliation and discrimination from certain LSU officials. They added that due to years of alleged workplace mistreatment, Lewis suffered a nervous breakdown.
The university is denying all accusations.