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New sexual misconduct protocol possible for Louisiana colleges, universities

SB 230, which was proposed by Sen. Beth Mizell, is headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk.
SB 230, which was proposed by Sen. Beth Mizell, is headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk.(WAFB)
Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 11:49 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) — A bill approved by the Louisiana Legislature would require the state’s colleges and universities to follow more strict, specific guidelines when it comes to claims of sexual misconduct on their campuses.

Senate Bill 230, which was proposed by Sen. Beth Mizell, is headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk.

“It’s going to make survivors feel safer,” said Samantha Sheppard, campus sexual assault coordinator for the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA).

The bill addresses:

  • required training
  • immunities for certain employees
  • confidentiality
  • relative to failure to report or filing false reports
  • prohibiting retaliation
  • required annual reports
  • student power-based violence surveys
  • coordination between institutions and law enforcement

An employee “who receives a direct statement regarding or witnesses an incident of power-based violence committed by or against a student shall promptly report the incident to the institution’s Title IX coordinator,” or otherwise face termination.

“It tightens the language to include, ‘shall’ and ‘must’ into writing. That way, if something happens where an employee or entity in an institutional space does not fulfill their role as a mandated reporter, they will face repercussions,” Sheppard said.

However, there are instances that do not require a report — like overheard conversations and awareness events.

No later than Oct. 10 and April 10 of each year, “the Title IX coordinator of an institution shall submit to the chancellor of the institution a written report on the reports received,” the bill reads.

From there, the report would be passed through the Title IX coordinator, the chancellor, the school’s management board, the Louisiana Board of Regents and, eventually, to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Employees who make a report in “good faith” will be “be immune from civil liability and from criminal liability.”

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