Louisiana universities, colleges give updates on safety and Title IX policies

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Sweeping legislation made it so the state legislature can keep a closer eye on how universities and colleges report any power-based violence and safety policies.

On Monday, the state’s top schools gave an update on how they’re following the law.

Louisiana’s major higher education systems came under fire earlier this year for some of them mishandling reports of abuse or not having a clear plan on how to make students safe.

LSU was among the schools that came under fire. Three lawsuits have already been filed through the Title IX  investigations but more are expected, according to the school’s attorney.

“When you do an investigation like we did and you make it public invariably lawyers and other folks are going to take advantage of it and try to file lawsuits,” LSU General Counsel Winston DeCuir said.

Under legislation passed by the committee in the regular session, they are putting together their Title IX offices and official reports of wrongdoing over the last several months.

“Now what we’re doing is educating every person including students, faculty, staff on our campus of what that policy says,” said Erica Calais, Vice President for Student Affairs and Governance for the University of Louisiana System.

Each school has links online where people can report abuse. Employees have already begun training on how to handle such reports and on other topics like sexual harassment.

“The legislation also required us to put together for January a statewide training module,” said Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner of Higher Education.

Grambling State saw a deadly shooting on campus this year. They increased their mental health services following the incident and have a plan in place on how to close off the campus at night.

LSU President William Tate said many times when gun violence happens on campus it is related to a mental health crisis.

“90% or more of gun violence that college students are involved with aren’t on-campus activities, they are in the surrounding areas,” President Tate said.

LSU is working to implement more mental health services to its students all year round. The schools will be back in January for a more cohesive report of how they’re implementing the new laws.

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