LSU under federal investigation over campus crime reporting
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Federal officials are investigating how accurately Louisiana State University reports crime on its campus and among its students.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) contacted the school in early February to notify officials it would need access to crime records by early March. The requested records date back as far as 2016, WAFB has learned.
The investigation centers on compliance with the Clery Act, federal rules enacted primarily to protect victims of sexual assault.
Violators face punishments ranging from fines to the complete suspension of Title IV programs.
A university spokesperson said campus safety remains a priority and that the university takes compliance with the Clery Act “extremely seriously.”
WAFB has learned the investigation comes after DOE received complaints about the school’s handling of certain allegations of crime in addition to media coverage of crime among the university’s student body.
The DOE declined to provide specific crimes that sparked the investigation. However, recent examples include hazing allegations.
In October campus officials investigated the circumstances behind a student’s hospitalization with severe alcohol poisoning.
The victim reportedly had a 0.451% blood alcohol concentration upon arrival at the hospital, which is nearly six times the legal limit.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney told the 9News Investigators the student’s “oxygen level was down. He was foaming and not able to walk. He had to be put on life-saving measures and his temperature was very low so a lot of things that indicate organ failure was going on.”
Terry Pat Reynolds II was later charged after investigators determined he acted as that student’s “new member educator” on the Pledge Board for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
In that role, Reynolds allegedly provided the new members with bottles of alcohol and told them they would not be allowed to leave until they finished an entire bottle. Police records say Reynolds also reportedly coerced new members to drink more if they did not finish the previous bottle fast enough.
Additionally, the university hired a third-party service to perform its own investigation into allegations raised by several women who previously attended the school.
Those women say they felt LSU officials failed to fully investigate their complaints of sexual assault or gave alleged offenders reduced punishments because of their involvement in certain campus activities.
Those women further claim students, including several top athletes, dodged punishment after LSU failed to involved its Title IX office or police in certain investigations as required by federal laws and school policies.
An Education Department spokesman cited the agency’s “longstanding policy” when declining to provide further details about the investigation.
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