Our View: It shouldn’t take a public relations crisis for Kent State to investigate itself

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Editorial Board

A little more than two weeks have passed since the Kent Stater published a story about the Colin Miller Title IX investigation at Kent State

According to the Title IX investigation documents, Miller left “unwanted notes of affection in the shape of little cut-out notes, direct messages on Facebook and pieces of candy on and inside Lyndsey Maur’s desk… or on top of her car.” 

Our reporting showed a string of delays on the part of university administrators and officials in the athletics department in moving the complaint forward and dealing with the recommended disciplinary actions for Miller. It also showed a reluctance among university officials to deal with disconcerting behavior from Miller.

Since publication, our staff received angry responses from members of the Kent State community who were appalled by the treatment of Lyndsey Maurer, the survivor of the harassment. 

This isn’t the first Title IX issue to arise in the athletics department. Lauren Kesterson is in the process of appealing a summary judgment in her 2016 lawsuit against the university, where she alleges they mishandled her Title IX case. This September, two visiting field hockey teams had their game stopped for a football fireworks display, which led to a loud public and national outcry. Kent State President Todd Diacon apologized for the slight and called for an internal investigation. 

When Lyndsey Maurer’s story went public in the Stater, the university stayed silent, other than to comment in the story that “this matter has been investigated by the appropriate department following university policy and is now closed.”  

There was no public apology from Diacon and no publicly announced internal investigation, which raises the question for us: Does it take a public outcry or public relations crisis for the university to take a look at its procedures and practices? 

Must brave women like Lyndsey Maurer file formal complaints and wait months for action to be taken? Since ensuring a safe work environment is a stated priority for the university we want to know what it will do to ensure cases like Maurer’s never happen again.