BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – After bringing down the hammer with past legislation for universities to revamp their Title IX safety measures, lawmakers met with the major universities Thursday to get an update on how they’re improving their policies and campus safety.
Members of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children were given statistics in the fall of 2022 showing the number of power-based violence reports and how the percentage of staff and students have gotten proper training on reporting.
While the formal reports have increased, it is still low numbers leading many to believe cases are underreported. One entity said that more reporting comes as more people trust the system, so there is still work to be done to educate about the changes being made.
After some high-profile Title IX safety cases came to light in 2021, the legislature allocated money to the major universities across the state to help address the issue. This includes physical changes such as gates, lighting and other security measures.
“The governor’s office has asked us to provide an update to them on the top two or three campus safety needs, one-time needs, of every campus in the state,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed.
Senators shared some frustration about how long it is taking to get new lighting systems put up with state and federal money. LSU has put in temporary lighting in some areas for the interim until the permanent solution is built. The schools said they are drafting plans and have to put them out for bid by contractors.
Many of the system presidents couldn’t make it to the committee due to prior engagements. The committee expects to meet with them again before the legislative session begins.