Message from Interim President Galligan and AD Woodward
Wednesday, November 25, 2020; 9:00 a.m.
Dear LSU Community,
As part of our commitment to transparency, healing, and progress related to recent allegations about our handling of Title IX cases, we are writing to let you know about our ongoing efforts to make LSU a better, safer place.
Title IX experts from the Husch Blackwell law firm will meet with us today to begin their investigation of our handling of the reported sexual and domestic assault cases and to generally assess our implementation and enforcement of sexual and domestic assault policies and procedures. We anticipate their findings to be complete in February, with a public report released at that time. Accountability matters, and if Husch Blackwell finds that any wrongdoing was done by individuals or the university itself, we will take the appropriate steps at that time. We hear the calls for justice and for immediate action, and we are listening – but it is important for us to get this right, which is why we have secured outside expertise to guide us through the investigation.
We are confident that Husch Blackwell will provide us with the information needed to take the appropriate action, but we want you to know we will not sit still while they do their work. We are exploring immediate changes we can implement and other ameliorative initiatives.
Last week, we met with student leaders from across campus to hear their perspectives, and we are meeting with the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) group in the coming days to solicit their expertise. We have reached out to several student organizations devoted to assault prevention and victims’ rights and advocacy so we can learn more about the student experience first-hand. We have also requested feedback from LSU faculty and staff related to our current Title IX and sexual and domestic assault reporting and enforcement policies and procedures.
We want to encourage all of you to share feedback with us via TitleIXfeedback@lsu.edu. The information submitted will help us to identify trends and challenges faced by our students so that we can continue to make the process of reporting sexual and domestic assault as simple as possible. It will also help us provide better and more sensitive support to victims throughout the process and enhance our education and programming to prevent assaults from happening in the first place.
This morning, we shared a memo with all university leadership reinforcing that every LSU employee (with extremely limited exceptions for those in designated, confidential roles) is required to report knowledge of a sexual or domestic assault to the Title IX Office. The same conversation has been had with the Athletics staff, so that everyone on this campus clearly understands the obligations of reporting—and how to do so. We will also address the topic in our upcoming Faculty & Staff Forum on December 2. Mandatory campus-wide Title IX training is active now, and all employees are required to complete it no later than Dec. 31, 2020.
The work ahead will not be easy, but we owe it to all victims of sexual or domestic violence to carefully examine how we do things and to make the necessary changes. As your Interim President and Director of Athletics, we want you to know that we take responsibility for righting any wrongs that may have occurred in the past, and for making sure that we do all we can to prevent similar circumstances from happening in the future. Together, as a community, we can make the necessary changes to protect our LSU family by addressing the underlying causes of sexual and domestic violence and changing that culture for good.
Again, please feel free to share your feedback with us at TitleIXfeedback@lsu.edu.
Thomas C. Galligan, Jr.
Interim LSU President and Professor of Law