Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that the recent report detailing LSU’s failure to report sexual misconduct is “very, very troubling because it was obviously an institutional failure of leadership at the highest levels.” However, Edwards said he has “every confidence” that the LSU Board of Supervisors is going to do “everything they can to fix these problems, including having the right policies in place and having the Title IX structure in place and properly resourced”
Edwards made that comment Wednesday afternoon on his monthly radio show on 89.3 FM WRKF in Baton Rouge.
On Friday, March 5, the Husch Blackwell law firm released a 150-page report that concludes that LSU hasn’t spent enough money or made enough of an effort to combat sexual misconduct and violence on its campus in Baton Rouge. The report says the university had been warned several times over the years that it needed to devote more resources to that cause.
The report highlights instances when LSU officials purposefully hid information about sexual misconduct — or created a system which made it difficult for the university to adequately track it. This happened in multiple cases over several years and involved officials from the president’s office to the athletics department.
“We need every student in the country and their parents need to know that if they come to a university in Louisiana, whether it’s LSU, or any other, that they are going to be safe,” Edwards said on the radio. “Their safety and well being is our highest priority.”
Edwards said he is “absolutely determined” that sexual misconduct issues in higher education in Louisiana “are going to get fixed.”
The Louisiana governor appoints 15 of the 16 members of LSU’s board, and, thus, has a tremendous amount of power and influence over it. The one remaining board seat is filled by a student. According to the Board of Supervisors website, only one of the appointed members currently serving, Ronald Anderson of Baton Rouge, was appointed to the board before Edwards took office. Anderson’s term technically expired June 20, 2020, but he continues to serve.