Jonathan Sanders, LSU’s director of advocacy and accountability accused of doling out the lowest possible sanctions against LSU students accused of sexual assault, denied allegations and said Husch Blackwell took him out of context in their report during a a senate hearing about LSU’s mishandling of sexual abuse allegations.
A female student told USA Today that Sanders questioned her about the clothes she was wearing the night that a male student raped her while she was unconscious. Sanders denied this happened.
“Someone else may have asked her that question, but it wasn’t me,” Sanders said when asked if the accusations revealed in the USA Today article were true.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Scott Woodward refused to testify at the hearing. He refused to comm…
Several women told USA Today that Sanders disciplined them for minor, unrelated infractions or questioning them in ways that cast doubt on stories found to be credible by Title IX investigators. The Husch Blackwell report also mentions minor infringements sexual assault survivors received.
Sanders said some of the incidents of survivors receiving minor infringements were not handled by him. He said Residential Life handled one of the infringements, but Husch Blackwell assumed he handled it.
“Some of the issues with the information in the Husch Blackwell report [is that] no one from our residential life was interviewed for that process,” Sanders said. “They didn’t get to share that process with them. They automatically assumed that that was me. It’s a mischaracterization of our process.”
Out of 46 students found responsible for sexual assault, LSU expelled one, suspended 18 and gave lesser sanctions to 27 while Sanders was in charge of issuing sanctions in Title IX cases, according to data obtained from LSU by USA Today.
Last Wednesday, the Office of Communications and University Relations launched a new website with the aim of supporting anyone who has been impacted by domestic and/or sexual violence. The University has launched this website quickly, in an effort to take some responsibility and show that they care for their students’ welfare in light of the recent Title IX lawsuit and report released earlier this month.
Sen. Beth Mizell asked Sanders how he and his office determined which students were worthy of expulsion. Sanders said patterns of previous behavior are a significant factor and that the department uses an outcomes guide to determine punishments.
"I thought you were going to make me feel better and you’ve made me feel worse," Mizell said regarding Sanders' responses about the process.