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YSU sets policy on misconduct

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees has directed the university administration to develop additional policies and procedures that better address how to respond to situations involving serious student misconduct, including sexual misconduct and acts of violence.

The resolution was unanimously approved at the board’s regular quarterly meeting Thursday.

“We look forward to working with the campus leadership and community to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to maintain a safe, secure and inclusive environment for everyone on campus,” said Eddie Howard, vice president for Student Affairs.

In the resolution, the board asks the university administration to explore best practices already in place at other universities, including the definition of serious misconduct and appropriate consequences, as well as processes for enforcing the new policies. The resolution also asks the administration to involve students, the Academic Senate and other university academic leaders in development of the policies and procedures.

The proposed policy and procedures will be presented for consideration no later than the board’s March 2020 meetings.

It was reported in November that YSU in 2016 suspended a men’s tennis player it found responsible in a sexual assault. But two years later, it installed him as an assistant coach of the men’s tennis team, and, one semester after that, the women’s tennis team. He was one of three YSU athletes disciplined for sexually assaulting a female student in September 2015, records obtained by USA Today show.

YSU confirmed that its Title IX office received a complaint from the female student Sept. 18, 2016, about two incidents occurring one year prior. Title IX refers to the federal law prohibiting sex and gender discrimination in education. The university placed the players on interim suspension two days after receiving the complaint, records show. After an investigation, administrators found all three athletes responsible for sexual assault by a preponderance of evidence, the same standard used in civil court, records show.

On Oct. 6 — less than three weeks after the victim filed the complaint — YSU suspended one player for 10 months, the assistant coach for seven months and another player for two months, records show. It also banned two of them from campus residential facilities, ordering one to complete 20 hours of community service. In addition, the university ordered all three to complete an online training module called “Think About It” to educate them about alcohol use, healthy relationships and consent, records show.

After an appeal, one player was expelled. The assistant coach graduated this year and is no longer affiliated with the school.

news@tribtoday.com

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