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LSU students protest after admin only suspends two for violating Title IX

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - About 45 students blocked access to LSU’s Football Ops center Monday morning in protest over what they deem is a lack of action by the university’s leadership.

This follows a damning report released by law firm Husch Blackwell that detailed a systemic failure by LSU leadership when it came to its handling of sexual violence reports by students. Two members of its athletic department were suspended, Verge Ausberry for 30 days without pay and Merriam Seger for 21 days without pay, after both were found to have violated Title IX by mishandling reports of sexual violence against student-athletes.

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The protest was organized by the student group, Tigers Against Sexual Assault, after the report was released on Friday. Leader Angelina Cantelli said the suspensions were just a slap on the wrist.

“Not only did they get the weakest punishments but there are so many other people who are responsible for this that they didn’t even address,” Cantelli said.

Cantelli added she wants LSU interim president Tom Galligan to take harsh disciplinary actions against any employee who violates Title IX procedures. She said that is the only way to change the culture that permeates the campus of dismissing sexual violence.

Friday, after the release of the report, Galligan said he would follow the recommendations laid out by Husch Blackwell, including fully funding the Title IX office and removing it from under the control of general counsel. He said it was time to change the culture and fix past mistakes. Cantelli and the students at the protest said they have little faith any of the changes made will actually make a difference, though.

“None of those changes are going to be able to happen with full force if people that cover up sexual assault are allowed to keep their jobs,” Cantelli explained.

As of now, no further disciplinary actions have been taken by LSU leadership against those named in the report. A spokesman with the university said it is listening to students and hopes to have a dialogue about how to implement changes.

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