Education Violence Against Women

LSU Staff & Administration Mishandle Sexual Assault

CW: sexual assault, rape

A USA Today investigation that was released yesterday indicates that Louisiana State University has mishandled numerous sexual assault complaints against students, many of which are athletes.

A large number of these sexual misconduct complaints have been about the football team’s running back, Derrius Guice. A member of the diving team told her coach and an athletic department administrator that Guice raped her friend who had passed out from alcohol at a party in spring 2016. During summer 2016, a student told two athletics administrators that Guice took an unsolicited partial nude photo of her and shared it with at least one person. Another rape allegation against Guice was received in Spring 2017, by another female athlete. In all of these instances, LSU mishandled the cases in such a way that allowed Guice to continue playing football and avoid formal sanctions.

This theme of ignoring complaints, not protecting survivors, and allowing perpetrators to continue inflicting harm does not end at Derrius Guice. Drake Davis, a wide receiver on the football time, physically abused his girlfriend for months while at least seven LSU officials were aware of the situation. Overall, at least nine football players have been reported for sexual misconduct and dating violence in the last four years at LSU.

Additionally, in three separate cases that found each perpetrator responsible, all three male students (each were non-athletes) were allowed to stay on campus and received “deferred suspensions” rather than concrete suspension or expulsion. Another case with a fraternity member found him guilty of assaulting two women but would not move him out of shared classes with one of the survivors and ignored a complaint from a third student. One of the students USA TODAY talked to said that “I just think that honestly they don’t care…The whole system is on the side of the accused.”

These are explicit examples of instances in which officials should have taken steps to protect survivors and hold perpetrators accountable, due to both LSU policy and Title IX protocols, even with changes made by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to weaken protections for survivors. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights investigated LSU’s Title IX procedures in August 2015, but the case was dropped three years later. Clearly, sexual assault is still an issue on this campus, one that exists both in and out of athletics.

Media Resources: USA Today 11/16/20, Feminist Newswire 5/8/20

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