Students protest in response to lawsuit accusing LSU of mishandling sexual assault claims

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Baton Rouge, La. (BRPROUD) — LSU students spoke out against sexual harassment at a planned protest on Oct. 18 in response to the latest lawsuit accusing the school of failing to properly handle sexual misconduct claims within the French Studies Department.

Students demanded justice for six women who claim they were sexually assaulted — and many others in similar circumstances. They want accountability and change from LSU.

“The spring semester is when I met someone I wish I had never met in my life,” said LSU fourth-year student Miranda Albarez.

Albarez claims to be a sexual assault survivor of former French graduate student Edouard d’Espalungue D’Arros, accused of rape.

People rallied behind her — Feminists in Action (FIA), Le Cercle Français and others protest in an effort to uplift the voices of the unheard.

“We’re frustrated because just this time last year, we had a similar story come out, but with the athletic department, and so it’s the same story, different year. And so we’re out here demanding change in that LSU prioritize student safety,” said FIA Treasurer Marina Bianchi.

“He should never have been able to run groups affiliated with LSU after what happened in 2018. But LSU did nothing in 2018 and for years afterward,” said Albarez. “So here in this building on the fourth floor, he stayed working for another year and a half with little to no repercussions for his actions.”

Protesters in front of Hodges Hall

Nguyen said the school is just now addressing the problem.

“And the worst part is, even after finding out about all of that happening, like they still let him work, they still let him come in contact with a bunch of undergraduates,” said Tigers Against Sexual Assault Director of Advocacy Nicole Nguyen.

The protest ended at the French Department where the accused student worked.

“We are ultimately trying to end rape culture on campus because this is an issue bigger than just LSU, there’s students all over the nation protesting at their campus for similar issues,” said Bianchi.

Feminists in Action said have plans to meet with the Title IX office to increase transparency and to work on developing a better culture on campus.

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