It’s a good thing that the Legislature's Senate Select Committee on Women and Children has kept its focus on the scandal involving LSU’s handling of domestic assault and sexual harassment complaints against star athletes, because nobody else seems willing to peel away the excuses and get to the bottom of the matter.
Not the indifferent governor. Not the caretaker LSU president. Not the passive and defensive athletic director.
John Bel Edwards, Tom Galligan and Scott Woodward have done nothing bold in the month since the school released the searing report from the Husch Blackwell law firm that painted a picture of a school more interested in winning football games than protecting young women.
The third chapter of the committee’s work was to unfold this week, when an all-star lineup was summoned to appear or issue statements. That includes Woodward, football coach Ed Orgeron, former Board of Supervisors Chairman James Williams, and Taylor Porter attorney Vicki Crochet.
Orgeron chickened out and issued a statement, unwilling to field questions on his changing explanations about whether he communicated with Gloria Scott, the great-grandmother who has testified that she was working at the Superdome when running back Derrius Guice told her "I want you to f*** me."
Woodward also wrote a letter, which is a shame because the public deserved to hear him explain why he went on the radio to say that one of his senior aides, Verge Ausberry, is doing a “very, very, very good job” when in fact Ausberry blundered after receiving information that football receiver Drake Davis had hit his girlfriend.
Wednesday, others pulled out, citing a threatened lawsuit from associate athletic director Sharon Lewis, who says she was retaliated against for trying to report student allegations of sexual harassment by former football coach Les Miles.
That means we won't hear from Williams about whether he ordered former President F. King Alexander to hire Woodward and fire Joe Alleva after negotiating a salary to lure Woodward from Texas A&M. Alexander says Williams even wrote the salary figure on a napkin and handed it to him.
Crochet won't face questions about whether her law firm was hired to investigate a harassment complaint against Miles or to help cover it up. And she won't have to explain whether she was trying to help the complaining student get a grade changed in return for her silence.
The committee’s hearings had been slicing through the coverup culture on campus, and the withdrawal of Thursday's witnesses was a setback. It’s a shame that the people in charge at LSU do not share the legislators’ passion for reform.