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WSU: Why WSU President Kirk Schulz won't comment on Robert Barber case

IN CASE YOU were wondering why Washington State President Kirk Schulz has been mum on the Robert Barber situation, Cougfan.com received the official answer from the university on Tuesday afternoon.

“Under FERPA, no one from the university can comment on any aspect of a student conduct case,” Robert Strenge, WSU News assistant director said in an email. “That includes the president. We can only talk about the process itself … "

Schulz has taken a public relations beating on Twitter, Facebook and the Cougfan.com message boards. His only "comment" on the matter was a Tweet last week saying he affirms the WSU Conduct Board but will ask a third-party to evaluate the policies and practices of the Board.

Cougfan.com first asked to talk to Schulz this past Thursday on the situation surrounding Barber and the WSU Conduct Board, and reiterated our request today. Much has happened since Thursday, and so we also naturally wanted to ask Schulz for his response to the barbed comments made Monday by State Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane about Schulz’s leadership. Baumgartner called on the WSU Board of Regents to immediately reinstate Barber, a senior who is one credit and six weeks short of graduating.

“The president has no comment on Sen. Baumgartner’s remarks from yesterday,” Strenge said in his email to CF.C.

Asked if Baumgartner could directly raise the matter with the Regents at their regularly scheduled meeting this Thursday and Friday in the Compton Union Building, Strenge said, “There is a public comment period near the end of every Regents meeting that affords anyone a chance to make comments to the board. Sen. Baumgartner has used the comment period before to make his opinions known to Regents."

On Monday, Baumgartner joined with WSU legend Jack Thompson and leaders of the state's Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition to protest the lack of due process Barber was afforded by the WSU Conduct Board in its decision to boot Barber out of school. Baumgartner went so far as to say if the decision isn't reversed, he will hire Barber to his Senate staff and have the American Samoa product field every funding request from WSU. He also would assign Barber to review the practices of WSU’s Conduct Board.

Attorney Arne Hedeen, a WSU graduate, said it is expected Barber and his attorney will announce Wednesday whether they will seek legal redress that would allow Barber to return to the university and the football program.  For more, click on the CF.C story at the bottom of this article.

COUGFAN.COM ALSO HAS reached out to Conduct Board members Lisa McIntyre, Elizabeth Hindman and Consetta Helmick, as well as Adam Jussel, the director of the Office of Student Conduct. Hindman responded on Thursday, saying she couldn't comment. McIntyre responded to CF.C today via email, saying "I cannot comment on any student disciplinary matter."  Helmick and Jussel have not responded. (Note: After this article was published, Jussel emailed CF.C: "I cannot comment on any student conduct matters due to privacy laws and regulations").


NOTABLE: Cougfan.com caught up with Baumgartner for additional perspective Monday.

RELATED STORY: Senator lights torch in defense of Barber


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