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Lawmakers seek more oversight in university Title IX policies as the 2021 legislative session begins

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BATON ROUGE – LSU Title IX failures are front and center as lawmakers go to work for the 2021 session. There are multiple bills outlining how universities should handle sexual misconduct, including who to report it to.

“My bill would call for a reporting mechanism to the Board of Supervisors and to the Board of Regents,” Senator Beth Mizell said.

Mizell wrote legislation with a handful of other lawmakers to make sure what happened at LSU won’t happen again. Last month, the Husch Blackwell report outlined failures in how some employees handled sexual assault complaints.

“There were six people that had point of contact with a sexual assault survivor. One person could have changed the trajectory of how it was being handled and that never happened. That one person never showed up,” Mizell said.

There is legislation already in place regarding Title IX. However, Mizell said there needs to be more oversight and concrete consequences for not reporting sexual harassment or assault. 

“The expectation was of course they were going to [follow policies]. They are an institution that we all expect and has the ability to do it, but apparently the trust wasn’t efficient so now we’ll add oversight. That oversight will follow every step of the process from the reporting all the way through the consequences.”

LSU suspended two athletics administrators after the report came out. They are both back at work.

Representative Neil Riser also wrote a bill addressing higher education. In his proposal, universities would be required to post crime reports and data on their website to provide more transparency.

“A parent or grandparent or someone who is considered going to that college or university can look at it. They might want to know what’s going on there,” Rep. Riser said.

Both of the bills were introduced Monday. They will now head to the Committee of Education before being voted on.


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