LSU system submits missing sexual harassment reports

The university had missed a deadline to file information about sexual harassment with state.

By: - March 3, 2021 6:02 pm
LSU Student Union

(Photo by Julie O’Donoghue)

LSU submitted more of its campus reports on sexual harassment that are required by the state this week, after the Illuminator and Associated Press published stories saying the higher education system had missed a deadline to file most of them.

The reports for LSU’s Alexandria, Eunice and Shreveport campuses were late. The university’s two health sciences centers, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and agricultural center also submitted late reports.

LSU was required to turnover information about sexual harassment to the Louisiana Division of Administration by Feb. 15. The reports for most of  the school’s campuses didn’t arrive until March 2 — two weeks after they were due. LSU had only submitted the mandatory report for its flagship campus  in Baton Rouge by the end of February.

“Each LSU campus completed their Act 270 reports. Unfortunately, the reports were not forwarded to the Division of Administration,” wrote Ernie Ballard, LSU spokesman, in a statement Wednesday.

The late reports show two of LSU’s smaller campuses are struggling to comply with a state law that requires at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training every year.

LSU-Alexandria said just 56 percent of its employees had taken the mandatory training in 2020.

The rate could be even lower at LSU-Shreveport. That campus said 60 percent of LSU-Shreveport’s full-time employees completed the training, but it is required for all employees — including part-time student workers and graduate assistants — and LSU-Shreveport didn’t report how many of its part-time workers had completed it.

The rates of completion mean that LSU-Alexandria and LSU-Shreveport rank at the bottom for public four-year institutions when it comes to participation in anti-sexual harassment course efforts. Many other university campuses saw completion rates of 85 to 95 percent. 

The LSU Health Sciences Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport saw high rates of completion of the online sexual harassment prevention training — over 90 percent.  They also had confirmed incidents of sexual harassment on campus.

At the Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, school officials took “corrective action” for sexual harassment as a result of two complaints in 2020. At the Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, officials found sexual harassment occurred once, but the employee resigned before the person could be disciplined, according to the school’s report. 

The sexual harassment reports are a fairly new requirement. They were part of a larger update to state government sexual harassment laws that occurred in 2018, after a top aide to Gov. John Bel Edwards was forced out of his job because of workplace sexual harassment allegations.

In 2019, each state agency — including higher education campuses — has been  required to develop its own sexual harassment policy. In 2020, each had to start submitting annual reports every February tracking sexual harassment amongst its ranks.

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.