A letter sent June 28 urges the university to have a policy that prevents “the recruitment of any athlete with a history of sexual violence.” A spokesman said WSU athletics would not comment until the letter is reviewed by president Kirk Schulz and the school’s administration.
The leaders of three student groups at Washington State University recently sent a letter to president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Bill Moos asking the school to implement a policy regarding the recruitment of athletes.
The letter, sent June 28, urges the university to have a policy that prevents “the recruitment of any athlete with a history of sexual violence.”
It refers to “those who have pled guilty to or been convicted of dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, or sexual violence.”
“It is important that one of the most visible and foundational departments at our university take a harsh stance against those who commit such violent acts,” the letter said.
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The letter was signed by student body president Jordan Frost, graduate and professional student association president Shane Reynolds, and student-athlete advisory committee president Abu Kamara, who is on WSU’s track and field team.
After sending the letter, Frost said he heard back from the president’s chief of staff because Schulz was on vacation, and Frost has since communicated with the president.
Christine Hoyt, the president’s chief of staff, also suggested that members of WSU’s administration, including employees who work with student affairs and Title IX, have a meeting with Frost and Reynolds, Frost said.
Anne McCoy, deputy director of athletics, was included on the list of those suggested to be in attendance for the meeting, which Frost said is supposed to occur this month but has not yet been scheduled.
Frost said he has spoken by telephone with Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and advocate for ending sexual violence in college athletics, about how he should approach the meeting.
Since sending the letter in June, Frost said no employee from WSU athletics has reached out to acknowledge receiving the letter or to discuss further steps.
A spokesman said WSU athletics would not comment until Schulz, Moos and the school’s administration had reviewed and discussed the letter.
Even though any student, regardless of whether he or she is an athlete, can have a history of sexual violence and be enrolled in the school, Reynolds said a policy such as this, one that focuses on recruiting, is an effective place to begin because those individuals are being selected to join the WSU community.
“You have to send a message that WSU is serious about this, that WSU is committed to making this a priority and if we can use the most visible part of our university to send that message, I think that’s powerful,” Frost said. “Then, it shows all across the country WSU will not tolerate, will not accept and will not welcome people who commit a violent crime.”
This year, Oregon State baseball player Luke Heimlich, a former Puyallup High School standout, was thrust into a national spotlight when The Oregonian reported that Heimlich had been convicted of molesting a 6-year-old in 2012. It is unknown whether Oregon State was aware of this before Heimlich joined the team, according to The Oregonian.
In 2015, offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman was dismissed from Michigan’s program after he pleaded guilty to filming a sexual act with a woman without her consent. He initially committed to transfer to WSU but later decided to continue playing at the University of Akron instead.
The letter sent to Schulz and Moos mentions a new policy in place at Indiana University that bans any prospective athlete who has a history of sexual or domestic violence, much like the policy Frost would like to see WSU implement.
“Safety falls at the very top of our priority list,” Frost said. “If we did nothing else but focus on safety this school year, I would say that’s a successful year. That is just at the base needs of every human is to feel secure. We can’t have successful students if they don’t feel safe.”