LSU hires law firm to review sexual misconduct policies in wake of USA Today report
BATON ROUGE - USA Today released a Monday, Nov. 16 article claiming Louisiana State University officials have repeatedly ignored or mishandled rape and sexual assault allegations made by female students against male students, the journal specifically referred to cases involving former LSU running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver Drake Davis.
The article said, “LSU’s failure to adequately address sexual misconduct goes beyond one star running back, a USA Today investigation found. Officials in the university’s athletic department and broader administration repeatedly have ignored complaints against abusers, denied victims’ requests for protections and subjected them to further harm by known perpetrators.”
USA Today went on to claim that, “Guice and Davis included, at least nine LSU football players have been reported to police for sexual misconduct and dating violence since coach Ed Orgeron took over the team four years ago, records show. But the details of how LSU handled complaints against the other seven, including two who played key roles on its 2020 national championship team, remain largely secret..”
LSU Athletics issued a quick response to the claim Monday morning, stating: “We are aware of the USA Today article and are reviewing the allegations. In the meantime, it’s important for us to emphasize that LSU does not tolerate sexual assault or any form of abuse.
We are committed to responding promptly to any reports of misconduct, to investigating these reports in a manner that is fair and equitable, and to supporting the victims in every way we can. Putting an end to abuse and sexual assault is an institutional priority, and we are constantly working to achieve that goal.”
Interim University President Tom Galligan announced the school has hired an out-of-state law firm to review the school's policies related to sexual assault.
A message I'd like to share with the LSU community: pic.twitter.com/LM13X6qQrf— Tom Galligan (@LSUpresident) November 16, 2020
Coach Ed Orgeron spoke briefly on the matter Monday, saying he had "confidence" the university was working to address its internal issues.
Shortly after the article was published, Zach Von Rosenberg, a 29-year-old LSU punter, was among those who replied to it on social media, saying, "I felt obligated to defend my coach bc we had team meetings about nearly every incident. Most of these players were either dismissed or removed from the team. The others I don’t know all the details, but what I do know is my coach would do the right thing. Fact."
Meanwhile, former LSU student and former LSU Women's Tennis team member, Jade Lewis, responded to the article by revealing her own survival of sexual violence while attending LSU.
Lewis said that after reporting the incident to university officials, her case was not handled properly.
She took to Twitter in response to the USA Today article, to say, in part, "As details of the sexual misconduct within LSU continue to come to light, my hope is that LSU Athletics changes course and decides to be transparent and remorseful rather than continuing to create cover-ups and false narratives."
The university's current procedure for reporting sexual assault puts survivors in touch with its third-party reporting system, LSU Ethics, Integrity, and Misconduct Helpline, which is managed by an outside organization called Ethics Point.
According to the university's website, "Any student or employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct or any other violation of this policy has a right to report the conduct to the Campus Title IX Coordinator or to any other responsible party."
Click here to read the full USA Today article.