The Senate Select Committee for Women and Children’s on April 8, regarding LSU's mishandling of sexual assault allegations, was filled with controversy after LSU administrators didn't attend the hearing.
Last night, LSU posted a picture of Tiger Stadium lit up in teal for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, fueling the fire. Much of the LSU community took this as a slap in the face saying their recent actions, including their absence at the hearing Thursday morning, illustrated their mishandling.
“You want to light something,” Mia LeJeune asked. “Then, light our walkways. Light the Quad at night. Light the Enchanted Forest. Make us feel safe.”
State Representative Aimee Freeman also viewed the post as poor timing. “There are 422 comments on here about how tone-deaf LSU is to take no action and post a photo like this,” she said. “This is hurting survivors.”
LSU Attorney Winston Decuir attended the meeting on behalf of the university. He argued that LSU’s absence was not due to negligence. LSU barred their employees from speaking at the meeting in the wake of Sharon Lewis’ $50 million lawsuit against the university.
“I understand that the perception of my letter is that LSU now is going to stop cooperating,” he said. “That’s just not the case. That’s really not the case.”
State Senator Karen Peterson expressed dissatisfaction with LSU’s response. “Bad behavior has occurred,” she said. “We know some of the people that have committed bad behavior. The urgency is not there to protect the students and the survivors.”
The following LSU officials were called to give a statement to the committee:
- LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward
- LSU Executive Deputy Director of Athletics Verge Ausberry
- Sports Equity-Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar
- Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron
- Executive Director for the Board of Supervisors Jason Droddy
- LSU Board of Supervisors member James Williams
- Former LSU Board of Supervisors member Ronnie Anderson
- Former General Counsel of LSU Board of Supervisors Tom Skinner
- Title IX Coordinator Jennine Stewart
- Executive Committee member Vicki M. Crochet.
For more information about when and where future Senate Select Committee for Women and Children will take place, visit senate.louisiana.gov.