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Charges: Northland College AD discriminated against gay athletes
Northland College in Ashland recently announced the resignation its Athletics Director. Danielle Kaeding reports on accusations he discriminated against women and gay athletes.
Under Title IX law, schools are responsible for responding promptly and effectively if they know or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence. This reporter has learned that Wilson was the subject of a Title IX investigation earlier this year for alleged discriminatory treatment of female students on the women's basketball team. Results of the Title IX investigation this year were not disclosed by the college after Wilson's resignation. Neither Wilson nor the school would comment on the investigation.
Northland College senior Sarah Hudson says she told two faculty members this winter about treatment from Wilson that she believes to be discriminatory toward women and gay athletes, prompting a Title IX investigation. Cynthia Belmont says she participated in the investigation. Belmont is associate professor of English and women's studies at Northland. She says the investigation has concluded. She's pleased with the outcome.
"Overall, I feel that the processes have integrity. Absolutely. I have no question about Northland's handling of things this winter. Prior to that, maybe."
Belmont says she's uncertain how things were handled before the Title IX investigation. But, she says Northland College President Mike Miller initiated the investigation into Wilson this year. Belmont believes college officials have the best interests of students at heart.
"I've spent quite a bit of time with President Miller about this and other things. I feel like he has a very serious investment in the well-being of the college and students. Also, so does Michele Meyer - the vice president for student affairs. I feel like she is very seriously invested in the safety, health and well-being of the students."
Northland College President Mike Miller spoke with this reporter this past February about sexual assault allegations on campus and the Title IX process in general. Miller said there are serious consequences for anyone found to likely be in violation of Title IX.
"This is a place that everyone values as a caring community. I would say in these instances as well as every other instance since I've been here, and I'm sure before, we have followed procedures. Some things take longer than others. That feels confusing, but we move as briskly as we can and we take things very seriously."
Northland College Student Affairs Vice President and Title IX Administrator Michele Meyer also spoke with this reporter in February about the Title IX process. Meyer said processes exist on campus to protect people and understanding them is important for everyone.
"It's our duty to ensure that the college is properly investigating the claims that come forward and that we are bringing them to conclusion.... We want opportunities for people that have been victimized to come forward."
Northland College policy provides equal employment and educational opportunities on the basis of merit without discrimination due to sex or sexual orientation.
The college announced the resignation of Wilson effective immediately at the end of April. When asked for comment about the accusations against Wilson and his resignation, the college released a prepared statement saying quote - "As a matter of policy, Northland College does not comment on personnel matters. The answers to any questions regarding staff and faculty policies and procedures are included in the Northland College personnel handbook. We announced Bill Wilson's resignation in a news release Friday, April 25 and have no further comment." -unquote.
Northland student Sarah Hudson says she wants people to know about treatment from Wilson that she believes to be discriminatory to women and gay athletes.
"That kind of behavior isn't tolerated and it's not in any way normalized. It's not normalized here at Northland College and it shouldn't' be normalized anywhere else."
This reporter reached Wilson for comment a day prior to his resignation. Wilson said there was no story and didn't know what he was allowed to discuss. He did not return repeated follow-up calls for comment.
This investigative series is a special report by Danielle Kaeding and has not been reviewed or approved by Northland College. The story can be heard on KUWS (91.3FM Superior) and WUWS (90.9FM Ashland) at noon, 5 p.m and 9 p.m..Previous KUWS Articles:
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