The ongoing fallout from the Title IX scandal at Louisiana State University has demonstrated how the reverberations of a Title IX case can ripple across a whole school.
The crisis for the school began with USA TODAY's investigative reporting into the university's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations. Their scathing report revealed the school's failures to properly report and investigate sexual assault claims. Reporters subsequently learned that the school tried to hush up allegations of sexual misconduct on the school's football team.
These reports culminated last month in the publication of an independent report into the school's Title IX policies. LSU has since released the full findings of this investigation. Several staff members and former athletes with LSU Athletics were implicated in this report, which detailed particular failings within the athletics department.
Overall, the independent investigation found that the school's entire system for handling reports of sexual misconduct was “built to fail.” With unclear policies, inadequate training, and insufficient resources, staffers and students did not stand a chance of having a fair, just process.
The Wider Impact of the Title IX Controversy on LSU
The report made a number of practical recommendations, including hiring dedicated Title IX staff, holding regular training, increasing record-keeping, and clarifying mandatory reporting responsibilities.
However, with particular members of staff being implicated in the report, the school is having to reconsider its recruitment strategies. The scandal surrounding Les Miles, the disgraced former coach of the Kansas campus' football team, poses particular questions about the football team. Though it is perhaps too soon to see how the Title IX investigation has impacted the search for future football players, one can imagine that the reputational damage will not help the school in attracting students and staff.
Building a proper framework to handle Title IX reports, investigations and adjudication could well be an uphill battle for the school, as they will have to do so while rebuilding trust amongst staff, students and parents. Some institutions facing a shattered reputation make the mistake of overcorrecting with an overly punitive show-trial designed to demonstrate that they are cracking down. This would fail to do students justice as there is no substitute for a transparent, properly resourced system.
The Importance of How Schools Handle Title IX Claims
Students and parents need to have faith that investigations and disciplinary procedures at their schools are properly handled. For a fair outcome, there need to be clear policies in which everyone is well-versed, and a dedicated, professional team to ensure the rules are upheld. Where wrongful blame can ruin lives and careers, and inaction can undermine student safety, the stakes are simply too high for schools to muddle through without these checks in place.
If, like LSU, your school's misconduct adjudication policies are unclear, you may not know how best to protect yourself. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience in defending students and teachers who need a second chance. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for more information.