Washington State University officials issued a statement Thursday that they found “no violation of university policy” following a report that Gesser made “multiple advances … on both student interns and coworkers" published Thursday by the Daily Evergreen, the school newspaper at WSU.
Washington State University officials announced Thursday that they found “no violation of university policy” regarding an investigation into alleged inappropriate sexual conduct by former quarterback and current athletic staff member Jason Gesser.
The statement follows a story published Thursday by the Daily Evergreen, the school newspaper at WSU, which cited hundreds of pages of investigative files that indicated that Gesser made “multiple advances … on both student interns and coworkers, including allegations of sexual relations and attempting to kiss a co-worker after having dinner with a donor, as recently as 2017.”
Gesser issued a statement Thursday night strongly disputing the story.
“I was very disheartened to read the story published in the Evergreen stemming from rumors and unfounded accusations regarding my professional conduct,” Gesser wrote. “While I am grateful that our institution fully investigates accusations of impropriety, I am disappointed that the unfounded complaints submitted to the Office for Equal Opportunity and the Office of Internal Audits have been made public, needlessly affecting individuals who don’t deserve public scrutiny and criticism.
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“The only thing I care about more deeply than WSU is my family and integrity. I want to clearly state that the allegations are not true. I am categorically opposed to harassment or sexism in the workplace or society, and I am deeply committed to my wife and children. The non-story published by the Evergreen addresses accusations that were fully investigated by the University and found to be without merit. Tellingly, those quoted heavily in the article are not the women unfairly brought into this. I will not allow my name to be unfairly smeared.”
According to the story in the Daily Evergreen, the university launched an investigation in December 2017 into myriad allegations regarding Gesser. It concluded that probe in February finding no apparent policy violations.
The university issued a statement by President Kirk Schulz and Athletic Director Pat Chun at 12:10 p.m.
“We take any allegation of sexual misconduct extremely seriously. A thorough review was launched by the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity once University administrators became aware of allegations against Mr. Gesser in December 2017,” the statement reads. “On multiple occasions, investigators interviewed or attempted to interview all those allegedly involved. Following a comprehensive evaluation of the information available, the Office for Equal Opportunity found no violation of university policy.”
The Daily Evergreen posted a response to the university’s statement. It reads in part:
“However, this release directly contradicts information obtained by the Evergreen. In interviews with women named in the public records as being involved with Gesser, two of them said they had not previously been contacted by OEO officials in regard to allegations against Gesser. We are currently working to confirm a third denial.”
Gesser starred for the Cougs from 1998-2002 and set the record for the most wins by a WSU quarterback. After a six-year professional career and several coaching stops, including a stint at Idaho, Gesser returned to Washington State in 2013. He helps raise funds for the school as the assistant director of athletics for the Cougar Athletic Fund. Gesser did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Bill Stevens, associate athletic director for communications, confirmed that Gesser remains employed by the university but would not answer questions regarding the investigation or the allegations.
“We are going to stand behind the statement” from Schulz and Chun, Stevens said.
That statement also said the following: “It is important to reiterate that the University followed its established procedures to review the matter and found no violation of Washington State University policy. The allegations were taken seriously and addressed at the appropriate level.”