Louisiana State University (LSU) has announced the hiring of an out-of-state law firm to review its policies on sexual assault after a USA Today article showed that school officials have been negligent in the face of rape and sexual assault allegations.
At least nine LSU football players have been reported for dating violence or sexual misconduct at the school since 2016.
“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,” Interim President and Professor of Law Tom Galligan said in a statement.
Coach Ed Orgeron, who handled the football team, also released a brief statement addressing the allegations. He reassured the public that they are currently being investigated.
The piece in USA Today detailed multiple complaints lodged by students that LSU either ignored or denied. In some cases, the school’s inaction led to further abuse of the victims.
Running back Derrius Guice was accused of rape by two women while a third stated that he took semi-nude photos without her consent, which he then sent to at least one other person.
Despite rumors of his actions regarding his behavior, the Washington Redskins picked Guice in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. However, he was released in August 2020 after being arrested on domestic violence charges.
Also according to USA Today, wide receiver Drake Davis physically abused his girlfriend, an LSU women’s tennis player, for months despite at least seven LSU officials having direct knowledge of his actions. They took no action during this time while Davis continued to “assault and strangle” her.
Outrage on Social Media
USA Today’s tweet on the article triggered widespread reaction, with most calling for revisions to the system and accountability on the part of officials aware of the allegations.
Twitter user Rebecca pointed out how putting schools in charge of investigating sex crimes on campus is a flawed system:
“As an LSU grad and football fan, I’m absolutely disgusted, but this is also a deeply flawed system to put schools in charge of investigating sex crimes on their own campuses; it needs to end. Schools are motivated to under-report and ignore crimes,” she tweeted.
Another user called Kay, who claimed to live near the campus, expressed how easy it is for high-profile personalities to escape accountability.
“This is surprising to people? I’m literally 30 minutes away from this campus. This should be a common thing by now. People who are in the spotlight are given slaps on the wrist while others get far worse. It’s a never ending cycle. Still going on now. We aren’t the only ones” she said.
Well this is disturbing. It seems evident that we failed victims both inside and outside of athletics. We seem to be in dire need of systemic change in the university. My thoughts are with the victims and I hope that we make things right.
— Joseph A (@LSUfan83) November 16, 2020