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Ex-LSU officials sought to testify about misconduct report

March 19, 2021 GMT
State Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, the Senate's second-highest ranking member, speaks about legislative work in response to a report that details Louisiana State University's repeated mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations, on Friday, March 19, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)
State Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, the Senate's second-highest ranking member, speaks about legislative work in response to a report that details Louisiana State University's repeated mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations, on Friday, March 19, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)
State Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, the Senate's second-highest ranking member, speaks about legislative work in response to a report that details Louisiana State University's repeated mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations, on Friday, March 19, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State lawmakers want to hear from former Louisiana State University leaders who held positions of authority during the time covered in a report detailing the school’s repeated mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations.

The Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, which has taken the legislative lead in following up on the report, set another hearing about LSU on March 26. The committee is asking former leaders of the LSU Board of Supervisors and former LSU athletic directors to attend.

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But Sen. Regina Barrow, the Baton Rouge Democrat who chairs the committee, acknowledged Friday she’s not sure those ex-LSU officials will attend the hearing as requested. She suggested the committee could try to subpoena the officials if they don’t appear voluntarily.

LSU hired law firm Husch Blackwell to review its handling of sexual misconduct, harassment and discrimination complaints under federal Title IX laws after reporting by USA Today scrutinized the school’s handling of sexual assault cases implicating two former football players.

Louisiana state lawmakers, particularly female lawmakers, are pushing LSU to enact stronger punishment for officials who, according to the independent report, were involved in ignoring student allegations of rape, domestic violence and assault or bungling the response.

“We want the survivors to know we have heard them loud and clearly,” Barrow said at a news conference on the state Capitol steps with a half-dozen other female lawmakers.

LSU interim System President Tom Galligan is creating a new office to handle Title IX complaints and has pledged to follow every Husch Blackwell recommendation for improvement. He handed out two short-term suspensions.

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday backed LSU’s response, calling it “reasonable.”