BATON ROUGE, La. — At least ten LSU administrators are asked to testify Thursday in front of the state senate’s Women and Children Committee. With recent allegations against the university, staff, and athletes, lawmakers want to understand how sexual misconduct claims have been handled by school leaders.
“It is essential for us to hear from the people who were involved in the actual events that happened,” said Rep. Aimee Freeman who sits on that committee as a member for the Louisiana House of Representatives.
Freeman said she doesn’t expect many, if any, of those asked to testify to show up.
Instead, the committee has been receiving written statements, like the one Tuesday from head coach Ed Orgeron.
“We have a lot of no-shows tomorrow which is disappointing,” said Rep. Freeman.
Since the committee didn’t issue subpoenas, no one can be forced to testify. That’s something Freeman said the committee is working on through the Women’s Caucus.
“We decided to invite people first and then decide if we’re going to subpoena,” said Rep. Freeman.
Wednesday, an attorney for LSU sent a letter to the committee stating others on the list will be advised to not show up. That’s because of a $50 million lawsuit filed the same day against the university and administrators on behalf of current LSU associate athletic director Sharon Lewis.
“The things that Sharon Lewis went through, no human being should have to suffer. To have to hide under your desk. Can you imagine what it’s like to have to go to work and all your coworkers are turning their backs on you,” said Brown.
Attorney Bridgett Brown said Lewis was subjected to racism and degrading policies within the athletics department when Les Miles was head coach. The lawsuit claims when Lewis reported Title IX violations, she was met with retaliation.
In a separate case, Gloria Scott claims former football player Derrius Guice sexually harassed her at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where she was working in 2017, but the university did nothing.
“I’ve never had a man or child ever talk to me so disrespectfully,” said Scott when she testified before the Senate committee late last month.
While testimony may be lacking Thursday, Freeman said the mission of the committee will continue. She’s even working on a bill to create a new and more stringent way of reporting Title IX cases to the legislature.
“That’s where we can make real change. We can bring bills. We can keep the conversation going during session,” said Freeman.