LSU’s War Memorial Tower looms over portions of the Baton Rouge campus. (Photo by Julie O’Donoghue/Louisiana Illuminator)
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LSU students petition for campus safety
Four LSU student groups are calling on university leaders to make changes to ensure the safety of students.
Feminists in Action at LSU, NAACP at LSU, Tigers Against Sexual Assault and LSU College Democrats sent a joint letter to President William Tate, LSU Police Chief Bart Thompson, Facility Services director Bryan Andries and the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX.
“To love something is to want to see it improve and be better and that is what we wish to communicate through these lists of suggestions based on our interactions with other students on campus,” the letter starts.
The coalition asks the administration to address its non-exhaustive list of concerns, starting with renewing LSU’s contract with survivor advocacy group Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), which had previously been contracted to provide training and other resources aimed at sexual assault and misconduct prevention.
LSU abruptly ended its partnership with STAR shortly before the fall semester. Tate said in an interview with the Illuminator in August that the university would announce a partnership with a new organization by midterms. No announcement has yet been made.
In the same vein, the student groups asked the school to publish a list of confidential trauma responders that sexual assault survivors can approach without initiating a Title IX report.
They also asked the university to address the accessibility issues that range from dangerous and unaccessible crosswalks andbroken elevators to incorrect braille signs.
Other requests from the groups include measures to curb crime on campus, including additional lighting and a blue light emergency call system. Thompson has committed to installing new lighting, but students have asked for a timeline on the project.
Emergency call systems have become increasingly popular on college campuses. They typically feature dozens of easily identifiable phones around campus that are activated by pressing a single button, easily connecting students in distress with the police. The University of Louisiana Lafayette has such a system in place.
LSU offers an emergency app, which has been criticized for glitches and not being well advertised to students.
The student groups also want reforms within the campus police department, including sensitivity training and ensuring that officers have a better geographic sense of the large campus. Students also asked for a public accounting of the department’s finances.
Engineer funds, new projects at LSU
LSU received a $7.6 million gift from the William A. Brookshire Foundation, which will be used to launch two new projects and fund an existing scholarship.
A majority of the gift from the foundation, which honors its namesake LSU engineering alumnus, will go toward the Brookshire Scholars program, which offers aid to engineering students with financial need.
An additional $975,000 will go toward launching LSU Future Scholars Pipeline Initiative along with money from other donors. The program will provide resources and mentorship to local middle and high school students.
The remaining $600,000 will establish the William A. Brookshire Veterans Law Clinic, the latest of the LSU Law Center’s experiential learning clinics. It will provide no-cost legal aid to veterans who are appealing claims before the federal Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
LGBTQ student survey says
Women and LGBTQ college students are more likely to distrust the government, according to a new survey from Best Colleges.
Only 23% of women students trust the political system, compared with 37% of men. Over half of LGBTQ students also reported that they don’t trust the system, along with about a third of straight students.
Women students were found to be more than twice as likely as men to consider abortion a top political issue, with 43% of women identifying it as a top concern.
Louisiana Higher Ed will return after the Thanksgiving Holiday
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