The US Department of Education has launched its second investigation into Louisiana State University since the school’s chronic mismanagement of sexual misconduct allegations came to light amid USA TODAY reporting.
The federal agency’s Civil Rights Office notified the university of the Title IX compliance investigation in a letter dated March 31. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by USA TODAY, says the agency will review LSU’s handling of student complaints of sexual assault and harassment from the 2018-19 academic year to present.
Title IX is a federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sex in any school that receives federal money.
LSU spokesman Jim Sabourin confirmed receipt of the letter but did not comment.
This is the second such investigation since February, when the Education Department informed LSU that it was conducting a thorough investigation into the school’s compliance with federal campus safety laws. The agency told LSU at the time that it had received complaints alleging “a pattern of conduct resulting in serious violations of the Clery Act,” a 1990 federal law aimed at transparency in politics and statistics. on campus crime.
This time, the Department of Education opened the case “in light of recent reports describing allegations by students that the University mishandled their complaints of sexual assault and harassment.”
He asked LSU for a long list of documents, including all documents provided to the law firm Husch Blackwell, which LSU hired in November to review the university’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct in response to reports of USA TODAY.
He also requested all complaints of sexual assault and harassment during this period, and in particular those involving athletes, as well as “any other internal or external assessment of the adequacy or effectiveness of policies and procedures of the University regarding sexual assault, and the internal or external recommendations made by the University since the fall of 2018. ”
He requested the documents by April 20 and also informed the school of his intention to interview anyone with knowledge of the situation.
LSU has been criticized for mismanaging sexual misconduct complaints since August, when a USA TODAY investigation found school officials turned a blind eye to allegations of rape of two students against the former running back Derrius Guice when he was a freshman with the team.
Derrius Guice, who played at LSU from 2015-17, has been charged with rape by two former students.
Two months later, a second USA TODAY investigation found that LSU’s inability to properly deal with sexual misconduct went beyond Guice. Officials from the university’s sports department and Title IX office had repeatedly ignored complaints against the attackers, rejected victims’ protection claims and subjected them to further harm from known perpetrators. .
In March, USA TODAY uncovered a 2013 internal investigation into the alleged sexual harassment of female college students by then-head football coach Les Miles. The investigation uncovered Miles’ behavior as immoral but not illegal, and the school did not fire Miles until years later after a disappointing string of field losses.
Husch Blackwell’s review, which the school made available in March, confirmed USA TODAY’s findings. Since then, the school has disciplined two employees and made several sweeping changes, including more staff and resources for its Title IX office.