Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: News regarding student safety and wellbeing

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Students and Colleagues:

The safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff is our paramount responsibility as university leaders. With this in mind, we write you today to share troubling developments involving a contracted massage therapist and some of our student-athletes.

On Sunday, a local media organization published a story detailing the arrest of a local massage therapist who was subsequently charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Though the story was unrelated to KU, the arrest was alarming to us because, since 2015, the therapist has been providing massage therapy services to some of our women’s athletics teams as an independent contractor. His contract has been terminated.

Immediately upon learning of the arrest, we began reaching out to student-athletes and initiated an internal investigation – led by an independent outside entity – into the therapist’s interactions with Kansas Athletics. Though still in the early stages of this process, we are deeply troubled by what we have learned so far. At this time, we are providing support to our student-athletes, parents and staff who have been impacted by this therapist’s association with the university. While we are unable to share additional information at this time, we felt a responsibility to share these general developments with you now.

There is important work to be done in the days ahead. We will continue our investigation to further understand the conduct of the therapist and determine who, if anyone, knew of inappropriate behavior that may have occurred. We will do this work in coordination with the University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health, with whom we partner to provide student-athlete care. While we do not expect to provide daily updates, we pledge to share additional information, as appropriate, and at the conclusion of our review.

If you, a classmate or colleague need help or have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, we encourage you to contact our Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. Additionally, please know there are support resources available to you throughout our community. We are here to help you. You are not alone.

At the University of Kansas, employees are mandatory reporters and have an obligation to share information regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. Relatedly, Kansas Athletics has strict protocols and numerous required training programs focused on students’ wellbeing and the necessity of reporting inappropriate behavior. If these processes failed us in this instance, we will find out why.

Lastly, the university investigates instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault through our Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. Please keep in mind these investigations require time and discretion, and they will always prioritize confidentiality and community safety over everything else.

Again, as university leaders, the wellbeing of every member of our community is our foremost priority. Moving forward, we will continue to support our students, faculty and staff and take measures to ensure the safety of our campus community.

Sincerely,

Douglas A. Girod
Chancellor

Jeff Long
Director of Athletics



One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.