Governor not prepared to fire anyone over LSU sexual misconduct scandal yet

Edwards supports university’s plans for review

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Ed Orgeron of the LSU Tigers looks on during warm ups before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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.

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Wesley Muller
Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.