In response to LSU scandal, La. House passes bill that would fire those who ignore assault

LSU
LSU Clock Tower (Photo by Julie O'Donoghue / Louisiana Illuminator)

A bill by Rep. Aimee Freeman (D-New Orleans) that would mandate the termination of higher education employees who don’t report known Title IX violations and clarifies where higher education employees should report those violations passed unanimously in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

When she introduced the bill to Freeman said that HB 409 is a response to findings and testimony during the three different sexual misconduct hearings the Louisiana Senate Select Committee on Women and Children held regarding a sexual misconduct scandal at LSU. She said the bill “addresses all the levels of trying to keep our students safe” and focuses on “accountability.”

Husch Blackwell law firm released a 150-page investigative report last month that concluded that LSU hadn’t made enough of an effort to combat sexual misconduct and violence on its Baton Rouge campus, hadn’t sufficiently staffed the Title IX office, which handles campus cases of sexual misconduct and violence, and had no clear policies in place about when employees are required to report sexual violence and sexual misconduct.

Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, two LSU athletics administrators who did nothing when they learned of several allegations of violence and misconduct reportedly perpetrated by football players, were suspended but not fired.

Students have protested what they call the LSU administration’s insufficient response, saying it has left students feeling that the university hasn’t done enough to protect its students.

Freeman said Wednesday she worked with the Board of Regents, public universities, STAR (Sexual Trauma and Awareness Response), Tigers Against Sexual Assault “to bring this bill together.”

HB 409 will go to the Senate for consideration.