PULLMAN, Wash --- Student leaders from Washington State University sent a letter to the school’s president and athletic director asking them to institute a policy to stop recruiting athletes that have been convicted of a sex related crime.
Associated Students of Washington State University President Jordan Frost said he got the idea for the policy after reading an article about the University of Indiana instituting a similar policy. Frost assumed that WSU had a policy like this but last month he found out there is not a policy at WSU enforcing this.
He started looking around at other schools and found that most places do not have a policy banning the recruitment of athletes convicted of things like sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence.
“If the students say this is something they want, then it will be much easier to make into a policy,” said Frost.
Frost pointed out one instance of WSU recruiting someone from the University of Michigan who had plead guilty to filming illegal sex acts. Frost believes this sends a message to people that the university is saying that it is ok for a person to do this if they are an athlete.
Instead of just asking the administration to institute a policy, Frost sent a public letter because he said he wanted more people to know. That would mean more pressure would be put on the university to make a decision, and could speed up the process. The potential policy has received overwhelming support from faculty, students and alumni who say this policy is important, said Frost.
There has been no direct response from the university about whether they will institute the policy. According to Frost, WSU President Kirk Schulz said he is interested in sitting down with student and university leaders to talk about the policy. There is a meeting later this summer with the WSU president, the vice-president of student affairs, the dean of students, the deputy title IX director and a few more officials that Frost will be attending to discuss the policy and if it can be implemented.
President Schulz has shown in the past that he is willing to work to get things right for the school, said Frost.
Athletics are the most visible part of a school, said Frost, so if they make a big statement then it is more likely to be seen by other schools and students that WSU is doing something to combat the sexual assault problems seen on college campuses.
Frost said this is not in response to a certain case or incident but more in response to WSU’s continued emphasis on keeping its campus safe for everyone. He said the letter is about setting an example.
“I want us to be proactive, not reactive when dealing with these problems. We have a major influence and incredible opportunities to make a difference on our campus. Be active in government on all levels, we can’t make a change unless we hear from the people who are affected by the changes,” said Frost.
KREM reached out to President Kirk Schulz, Athletic Director Bill Moos, and Associate Director of Athletics Bill Stevens but they have not responded for comment.