Meet Me Downtown

The State Capitol building sits on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 in Downtown Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana Senate Select Committee on Women and Children held their third hearing on LSU's mishandling of Title IX reports Thursday, when Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Winston DeCuir spoke on behalf of the University.

The lawmakers invited nine current and former LSU employees to testify at the hearing, and none of them appeared, choosing instead to submit written testimony. DeCuir said it was his decision to block the university employees from testifying at the hearing because it would be inappropriate for the individuals to speak, given the status of LSU athletics administrator Sharon Lewis' $50 million suit against the school. The employees called to testify are potential witnesses in the suit, DeCuir said.

DeCuir spoke to the committee and fielded questions from committee members about how LSU is handling recent allegations. 

“There's no doubt in my mind that LSU will spend whatever it takes in terms of money and time to fix these problems," DeCuir said.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, asked DeCuir if anyone had been dismissed at LSU in response to the mishandling of sexual assault. DeCuir said there have been no dismissals.

“The public expects more," Peterson said. "The urgency isn’t there to protect the students and the survivors. It just seems that way.”

She said survivors are scared to speak up because they have not seen any consequences happen in response to sexual assault reports.

“What is happening right now is blatantly unfair by our flagship university,” Peterson said.

The University is facing two investigations by the Department of Education, both of which DeCuir addressed.

The first, DeCuir said, is a Clery Audit. He said the Clery Act requires public universities to publish an annual report of criminal statistics on campus. He said the Department of Education wants to audit Clery Reports in light of the Husch Blackwell report.

The second, DeCuir said, investigates Title IX compliance at the University. DeCuir said this will be a traditional investigation where interviews will be conducted on campus. 

DeCuir said the University is planning to hire a search firm to search for a Vice President to lead the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. He said the University also plans to hire an outside auditor to ensure the University's handling of the 18 Husch Blackwell recommendations are up to par.

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