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Education Department Investigating LSU Campus Safety

Brock Fritz

LSU’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations have led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.

USA TODAY, which obtained a copy of a Feb. 2 letter from the Department of Education to LSU interim president Tom Galligan, reported Friday that the open-ended investigation will dig into LSU’s compliance with federal campus safety laws. The situation has been ongoing since a November USA TODAY investigation into LSU found that the athletic department and administration had mishandled numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

“This week, LSU was notified that the U.S. Department of Education would be conducting a campus crime program review related to Clery Act requirements,” said LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard in a statement. “Campus safety and the well being of those at LSU is always our priority, and following Clery guidelines for reporting and notifying the campus community is an important part of crime prevention that we take extremely seriously.”

Related content: Report: LSU Ignored Assault Complaints Against Athletes

The Clery Act, a 1990 federal law, was aimed at increasing transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.

The Department of Education letter notes that the investigation, which was first reported by The Advocate, will focus in part on LSU athletics and Greek life from 2016-2019. The objective is to “further assess the nature and extent of any violations” and “ensure that effective remedial action is taken, as needed.”

“Taken together, our analysis of the complaints and media accounts raise serious concerns about LSU’s compliance and the effects that any violations may have on victims of crime and the accuracy and completeness of the University’s crime statistics and other campus safety information,” wrote Lisa Bureau, an acting director in the Department of Education’s enforcement and consumer protection unit.

The Department of Education is seeking access to crime statistics and arrest logs; referrals for disciplinary actions for drug, liquor and weapons offenses; police department policies and procedures; and sexual assault and dating violence training and prevention program materials.

Related content: LSU Has Done Nothing on Sexual Misconduct Failures

Last year’s USA TODAY investigation included allegations against star running back Derrius Guice, who was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft and was released by the Washington Football Team on Aug. 7 after he was arrested on three separate domestic violence charges.

USA Today reported that in 2016, “a member of the LSU diving team told her coach and an athletic department administrator that Guice raped her friend after she’d passed out drunk at a party.

“That summer, a female student told two senior athletics administrators that Guice took a partially nude photograph of her without her permission, and then shared it with a team equipment manager and possibly others.

“Then, in April 2017, the athletic department received reports of a second rape allegation against Guice, this time by a women’s tennis player.”

USA TODAY’S investigation included several more instances of LSU officials ignoring complaints and denying victims’ requests for protections, writing that “at each step of the way, LSU officials either doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate, or didn’t call the police.”

The report shows that deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and football recruiting director Sharon Lewis admitted it was their practice to steer allegations against athletes to Miriam Segar, a senior associate athletic director, instead of reporting them directly to the Title IX coordinator, as LSU policy requires.

Galligan acknowledged the university’s failings, while student groups demanded the firing of any LSU official that mishandled Title IX complaints. LSU hired an outside law firm, Husch Blackwell, to review its Title IX procedures in roughly 60 individual case files from 2016 to 2018.

Related content: LSU Students Seek Resignations After Damning Report

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