11.3.18 Victory Hill vs Alabama

Former LSU football player Derrius Guice greets fans before the Alabama game on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Victory Hill.

It is a shameful time to be a member of the LSU community. 

Last week, USA Today reported that two former University students claimed former Tiger running back Derrius Guice raped them when he was a freshman. The USA Today investigation uncovered that the women’s allegations were known to multiple people at the school, including an athletics administrator and at least two coaches, yet the incident was never investigated. 

The failure to launch an investigation at an administrative level is symptomatic of the cultural rot that has taken over the University we love.  

Most alarmingly, something as horrific this can happen, and the victims do not feel comfortable reporting it to local authorities. If you cannot trust law enforcement and the academic institutions you are enrolled in to investigate, then who is left to take action to bring perpetrators to justice?  

A former LSU women’s tennis player discussed the culture of intimidation women faced within LSU athletics with WAFB, saying it discouraged women from reporting sexual misconduct, and that higher-ups maintained a “protect the program at all costs” attitude.  

Title IX requires universities to “promptly investigate” all sexual assault allegations. According to LSU policies, any supervisor or responsible party who hears a report of sexual assault should notify the Campus Title IX Coordinator, who will conduct a review to determine whether a full investigation should take place.  

One of Guice’s victims said she made a report to the campus’s Title IX office, but it was never investigated. The University has since failed to provide her a copy of the report. 

Coach Ed Orgeron was specifically cited in the USA Today story. One victim’s boyfriend was a member of the football team and brought the incident to Orgeron’s attention. The national championship-winning coach told the player he should not be bothered by it, allegedly saying, “Everybody’s girlfriend sleeps with other people.” Orgeron later denied ever saying that in a tweet. Only a deeper dive will shed light on the he-said-he-said situation.

The USA Today story pushed LSU into the national spotlight, while in the process displaying our inner demons. People will lose their jobs and athletic sanctions may be put in place, but our University’s response can prompt a cultural change within the campus community and empower victims in ways that were unimaginable before. But until these systemic issues are addressed, LSU will continue to fail its students.

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