Several former and current LSU students filed a lawsuit today against the university and several of its top and former administrators, alleging sexual discrimination under the federal Title IX law, citing the university’s failure to respond to their reports of rape, battery and sexual violence at the hands of male student athletes.
The plaintiffs, all females, filed their suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana seeking class certification.
They include Abby Owens, Samantha Brennan, Calise Richardson, Jade Lewis, Kennan Johnson, and Elisabeth Andries, all current or former students who attended the Baton Rouge campus at some point from 2013 to 2021 and have come forward publicly in recent months to recount their experiences of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and/or stalking.
The suit, which reiterates claims made by the women in public hearings and also in the investigative report by the Husch Blackwell law firm, alleges that for years “ … LSU and the Tiger Athletic Foundation have ignored systemic issues in LSU’s response to reports of sexual misconduct in favor of promoting and glorifying LSU student-athletes and coaches to reap the financial and reputation and benefits of a venerated college football culture.”
The suit goes on to say this created a campus culture which “ignores and even tacitly allows trauma to be inflicted upon women and LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and a prioritization of sports and money over academic and student well-being.”
The suit names the university, the LSU Board of Supervisors, TAF, former President F. King Alexander, and former athletic director Joe Alleva, athletic department administrators Verge Ausberry, Miriam Segar and Sharon Lewis, and several other LSU administrators.
Lewis filed her own discrimination suit against LSU earlier this month, seeking at least $50 million in damages. Segar, meanwhile, has sent Husch Blackwell notice of her intention to sue the firm.
The plaintiffs filed the suit seeking class certification, a jury trial and unspecified damages.
The filing comes as a presidential search committee is conducting two days of virtual interviews with the seven candidates vying to become LSU’s next leader, a search process that has been hampered by publicity surrounding the Title IX scandal.