(KADN) - An investigation by USA Today, reveals Louisiana universities failed to connect the dots when it came to sexual assault allegations. The article goes on to reveal an LSU freshman was able to transfer schools just weeks after being arrested for an alleged sexual assault.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette put the same student on probation and allowed him to remain on campus despite being arrested for sexual assault, according to the article. Over the next few years, three other women came forward and reported the alleged sexual assaults to the Lafayette Police Department. USA Today found the police department failed to report the allegations to UL Lafayette officials.
The male student then transferred to Louisiana Tech. A student there reported sexual allegations against him. He dropped out several days after being reported. In this case, the university failed to report the incident to the school in which he transferred to the next month.
In all of these cases, the schools failed to communicate the allegations leaving other women potentially at risk. According to the USA Today article, each case shared a similarity, they all involved the same male student.
Act 172 is a law that was put into place to protect students and alert local law enforcement agencies and universities to alleged sexual assault. The law was also made to prevent students from transferring to other universities while a sexual assault investigation is being conducted.
A statement sent out to students and faculty reads:
Dear students, faculty and staff members,
As you may be aware, a news outlet published a story this morning that focused on a former student who faced allegations of sexual misconduct while attending several universities in our state, including UL Lafayette.
The University cooperated extensively with the publication over the past several months. We answered questions thoroughly and provided requested public records. We believe in transparency, and our responsiveness to inquiries reflected that belief.
The story is nonetheless troubling. Though the University followed state and federal laws and policies as they existed at the time, the article highlights critical communication gaps that need to be addressed.
Current, ongoing discussions in the Louisiana Legislature will likely result in further reforms as to how higher education institutions communicate allegations of sexual misconduct.
The University, along with our fellow University of Louisiana System institutions, has been actively engaged in these discussions. We will continue to do so because we fully support these efforts.
But our work is not confined to legislation alone. We must continue to improve programs and initiatives that prevent this misconduct from occurring.
The University takes all allegations of sexual assault and misconduct seriously. Our commitment to creating a living, learning and working environment where every member of our campus community has their rights respected, and feels safe, is absolute.
Dr. Joseph Savoie
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