Since a USA Today investigation into LSU’s mishandling of sexual assault complaints was released, the university and its athletics department have been under fire. Four days after the release of the article, a student organization called Tigers Against Sexual Assault (TASA) organized an on-campus protest, to let their voices be heard and demand change.
“We made our graphic, we posted it on social media just as we would do any other event that we had. But people are outraged, the Baton Rouge community is outraged, not just the LSU student body,” said Angel Upshaw, Co-founder and President of TASA.
The USA Today article mentions many different specific instances of LSU officials not properly reporting and handling sexual assault complaints, however only two of the victims are referred to by name. These women, Samantha Brennan and Elisabeth Andries attended the protest.
“It has been good just to get our stories out there and put faces to names. It’s easier to empathize when there’s somebody behind the story that you know,” Brennan said.
“With all the people coming forward and confiding in you… we’ve talked about people coming forward and saying thank you. It’s just been more of that with the spotlight, and it’s been heartwarming,” Andries said.
Many of the protesters took the opportunity to share their own stories of sexual assault and share some encouraging words with the crowd. TASA leaders hope that this will be the first step towards change at LSU.
“Our immediate demand is calling for the resignation for the LSU athletics employees who are known to be the ones mishandling the case. Also, we saw that they are trying to investigate the Title IX office, but that’s not what we need investigated, we need LSU athletics investigated,” Upshaw said.
There is much anticipation about what LSU’s next step will be, but Brennan and Andries hope that the student body speaking out against this issue will encourage change within the school.
“Keep making your voices heard, it’s working. Things are changing here, little by little, keep being supportive, and stay strong,” Brennan said.
To hear the women’s full stories, read the original USA Today article here.