A Mediation Request to the Ohio State Board of Trustees
December 13, 2108
Dear Ohio State University Trustees,
We’re writing to thank you for allowing Dr. Richard Strauss’s sexual assault victims to speak during last month’s meeting. We’re especially grateful that you gave us extra time to tell our stories.
While you await the results of the Perkins Coie investigation, we’re worried about what will happen BEFORE you receive it.
We’re concerned that survivors will be silenced before the report is issued because, on the same day that the Board granted our request to speak with you, the University’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss one of the two Strauss-related lawsuits. And although Chairman Gasser told us, “We are not dismissing you. We are committed to doing the right thing,” the University moved to dismiss the other lawsuit shortly after our presentation to you. In our opinion, there was absolutely no legal reason for University attorneys to file these motions other than to send a message of intimidation.
And those same attorneys are continuing their efforts to silence our voices. Decades ago, Ohio State instilled fear and intimidation to successfully silence us as young students and athletes. We feared loss of scholarships and graduate school opportunities. Today, OSU continues to use intimidation tactics – this time using legal technicalities – to silence us as alumni.
For that reason, writing on behalf of many Dr. Strauss survivors, we are asking that Ohio State meet with us in mediation before the end of 2018.
The University already knows that Perkins Coie will report that hundreds of athletes and students were sexually abused by Dr. Strauss, and that many people at Ohio State knew what was going on and refused to stop it.
You do not need a formal report from Perkins Coie to start the mediation process.
It is our understanding that the report will not make any recommendations on how to fix Ohio State’s flawed culture, nor is it expected to make any amends for victims.
That also concerns us. During our Perkins Coie interviews, we were only asked about what Dr. Strauss did to us – we were never asked how the abuse impacted us or if we needed help dealing with the trauma we suffered.
We believe mediation will demonstrate to you what Perkins Coie cannot and will not, and that is the harm that was caused to victims. Mediation will provide all of us the opportunity to start the healing process and for this great University to put its own shameful failure to protect its students in the past.
Thank you for your consideration.
cc: All members of the Ohio General Assembly