MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The student strike that created radio silence at WVU’s college radio station Thursday morning is in part a protest against allegations of sexual harassment of the station’s student manager, Matthew Fouty, according to students involved with the protest.
Fouty, hired in 2015 to run the award-winning student run radio station, is a U92 alumni himself. He confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Thursday that a number of Title IX investigations had been opened against him, but the University would not confirm that on Friday.
“As a policy matter we do not confirm that we have active investigations,” WVU’s VP for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop said on “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval. “Obviously we have a number of students who are upset, and we take that very seriously.”
Alsop said the matters that prompted the student protest and a meeting Wednesday night between students and Dean of Students Corey Farris are being addressed and evaluated.
“It’s going through the appropriate evaluation and processes at the University right now,” he said. “We are taking this seriously.”
It’s unclear how long any of these claims have been under investigation. Students involved in the strike appear to be organized, but have yet to release any timeline and said they will publish a full list of allegations in the next few days. Alsop said there will be no quick solution.
“I know everybody wants to move quickly,” he said. “But we want to get this right.”
Alsop said, generally speaking, the Title IX office is well equipped to handle these types of situations.
“We’ve actually doubled the number of investigators,” he said. “We have dramatically increased the amount of training that goes on. So, when a Title IX complain comes in, it comes into one of these train investigators and is evaluated and appropriate steps are taken.”
The University released a statement Thursday in response to the student protest, which can be read in full here. It offers concern for the “unfortunate” decision for the students to take a “job action” in response to the allegations, but also said the University takes sexual harassment and misconduct allegations seriously.
“We do not want any sexual harassment on our campus,” Alsop said. “I think our statement made that clear yesterday. What we also want though is a fair defensible result.”
Phone calls to U92 General Manager Matthew Fouty and to the student group involved in the protest were not immediately returned Friday morning.
Multiple reporters contributed to this story.