Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday said he would not call for the terminations of any LSU administrators yet in the wake of a USA Today investigation in which several female students said university officials ignored acts of rape and domestic violence by football players and other male students.
“I’m not prepared to say any individual has to be fired,” Edwards said in response to a reporter’s question at his weekly press conference.
The USA Today investigation uncovered how senior LSU athletics administrators and coaches failed to investigate and report allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic violence to the university’s Title IX office. This included allegations against at least nine football players since Coach Ed Orgeron took over in 2016, USA Today found.
Federal laws and LSU’s own policies require administrators to take complaints of sexual assault seriously and immediately report them to the university’s Title IX office.
Hours after the story was published on Monday, LSU Interim President Thomas Galligan announced that the university hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of how the sexual misconduct cases were handled.
“To help us improve, we have retained Husch Blackwell, a renowned law firm with deep expertise in higher education, to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of our Title IX policies and procedures,” Galligan said in his press release. “We anticipate that they will wrap up their review in the spring.”
Edwards expressed support for the university initiating its investigation and said he hopes it will “get to the bottom” of the missteps and errors highlighted by USA Today.
The LSU Board of Supervisors controls the hiring and firing of the university’s administrators. As governor, Edwards appoints the members that sit on the board of supervisors.