LSU at Night

The bell tower clock stands tall Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 from the top of the Barnes & Noble at LSU parking garage on E Campus Drive.

The LSU Board of Supervisors held a public meeting April 10 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center to discuss progress on the Husch Blackwell recommendations and other issues pertaining to Title IX.

Interim Vice President for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Jane Cassidy announced 47 action items that will be implemented in order to fulfill the firm’s 18 recommendations.

The Title IX office will undergo many structural changes over the next year, including personnel increases from three employees to 15 with a new chain of command and improved reporting lines. The physical office was also recently moved to 118 Himes Hall.

A new policy for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX will be created to implement clear reporting guidelines and sanctions for employees who fail to properly report will be established by July 15. 

A new Title IX coordinator will be hired by July 1, 2021. Jennie Stewart, the previous Title IX coordinator, will now work on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Until a new candidate is hired, an external consultant from ATIXA will serve as the coordinator.

A timeline with a maximum of 84 days has been established for all Title IX cases. Before August 2020, the Department of Education required educational institutions to keep the process under 60 days. It was revealed in the Husch Blackwell report that this timeline was rarely followed at LSU.

A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been established between the Title IX office and LSUPD. This will help streamline the Title IX process when students first report to LSUPD, then need to transfer the records to the Title IX office.

Beginning May 15, students can use the Navigate app to schedule appointments with the Title IX office and Lighthouse. By July 1, Communications & University Relations will finish development on an app that staff can use to make appointments as well. A new reporting website has already been completed. It includes all the resources needed to file reports, in addition to information about medical services, the mental health center, and survivor support at Lighthouse. It can be accessed at https://www.lsu.edu/support/

A new website for the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX will be finalized on April 19. The site currently includes information on Title, ADA Compliance, Civil Rights, the Clery Act, and how to fill out an incident report. It can be accessed at https://www.lsu.edu/_civil-rights/

An oversight committee for the Athletics Department was formed and 14 members from around the community were announced Tuesday. Athletics has also recently established contracts for additional sexual assault training. One session with STAR has already been completed. 

MyStudentBody, a training program all incoming freshmen have to complete in order to schedule classes, will be reviewed by STAR and updated accordingly. 

Cassidy said the office is looking into ways to better implement restorative justice in the Title IX process, which would focus on punishing perpetrators but also correcting actions and restoring relationships between the accused and the victim, when appropriate. 

Cassidy said she has met with one group of students to discuss changes to the Title IX office thus far, but has several other meetings lined up in the near future and will be reaching out to other student organization, like Tigers Against Sexual Assault (TASA) soon. 

Following Cassidy’s presentation, the board asked Interim President Tom Galligan and Cassidy to retain a third party to oversee LSU’s Title IX processes and publish a semi-annual report based on their findings.

“We’re doing it all for our students,” Galligan said. “We’re doing it all to make LSU a safer place.”

There have been positive reactions to Cassidy’s action list on social media, with some critiques and questions as well. Overall, the LSU community seems pleased with the progress of the new Title IX office. 

“We do a lot of great things at LSU, but if we don’t have a safe place for our students, we fail,” Dampf said.

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