On Behalf of Jane Cassidy, Office of Civil Rights & Title IX

Monday, March 15, 2021; 3:00 p.m.

Dear LSU Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On our best days, LSU is a place where students come to live and learn in a safe and welcoming environment. Yet we have heard brave and painful testimonies of students who became victims and lost faith in our university to protect them. This is unacceptable. We now know with great clarity that our system to protect one another from sexual harassment and violence has failed, and we must act expeditiously to remediate the problem.

As part of Interim President Galligan’s plan to change our culture and provide LSU students with a safe and welcoming learning environment, he has asked me to serve as the Interim Vice President for the newly created Office of Civil Rights & Title IX. I have had unique and unconventional preparation to take on this challenge. My career as a music educator, first in public schools and then as a tenured faculty member, along with my research in music therapy for critically premature infants, shaped my beliefs in a team approach to problem solving, caring for the vulnerable, and education with outcomes assessment and accountability. My most recent responsibilities in central administration as Senior Vice Provost have provided me with insight into LSU’s organizational structure, an understanding of university policies and procedures, familiarity with human resource management, and invaluable connections with colleagues across campus who are dedicated to a safe and welcoming environment. I come prepared to partner with stakeholders who will help advise and guide our work.

We know we have a lot of work to do, and the Interim President has been clear that change must happen swiftly. We will use the recommendations provided in the Husch Blackwell report as the foundation of a path toward effective, efficient, and equitable infrastructure and policies. The most immediate concerns will be for those recommendations that will have the greatest impact on the safety and wellbeing of our community. We will immediately move to increase the staff in the Title IX office in order to handle cases in a timely and compassionate manner. Additionally, today we will start to review all aspects of reporting, which will result in guidelines for the campus that will be explicit, broadly disseminated, outline reporting protocols required of all campus constituents, and provide clear sanctions for those who are responsible for sexual misconduct and those who are not compliant with reporting. Together with our partners at STAR, we will build training and education programs that will make a difference.

We are committed to addressing each one of the recommendations in the report, and to be inclusive and transparent in our work.

I am honored to serve our students, faculty, and staff in this capacity, and I look forward to working together to make our university safer and stronger. Your partner in change,
Jane Cassidy
Interim Vice President for Civil Rights & Title IX