Michigan State to Fire Coach Mel Tucker Amid Sexual Harassment Probe

20:33 18.09.2023

Michigan State University (MSU) has announced its intent to terminate the contract of head football coach Mel Tucker due to sexual harassment allegations made against him. The decision comes after an investigation into the claims and Tucker's admission of behavior that violates the terms of his contract. In a letter to Tucker, Athletic Director Alan Haller stated that the coach has seven days to respond with reasons why he should not be fired.

The allegations of sexual harassment were first reported by USA Today, with a woman claiming that Tucker made unwelcome sexual advances and masturbated on a phone call without her consent. The university referenced these accusations in their letter to Tucker. However, Tucker vehemently denies the claims, stating that the phone call was consensual and outside the scope of both Title IX and school policy.

The alleged incident took place in 2022 with a woman who was contracted to provide a "sexual misconduct prevention educational program" to the Michigan State football team. The vendor filed a complaint under Title IX, prompting the university to launch an investigation by a third party. Additionally, the institution's Office for Civil Rights also initiated a separate investigation.

The letter from Haller stated that Tucker admitted to behavior that violates the terms of his contract, including commenting on the vendor's body, engaging in flirtation, and making sexually explicit comments. These actions were deemed grounds for termination due to "moral turpitude," which forbids behavior that would bring public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule to the university.

A hearing on the matter was scheduled for October 5 and 6. However, if Tucker fails to provide sufficient reasons to halt the termination process, his contract will be terminated on September 26. Tucker, who is in the third year of a lucrative 10-year contract worth $95 million, may lose out on the remaining funds if he is fired for cause.

While the termination of Tucker's contract addresses the immediate issue, the university emphasized that the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case will continue to be thoroughly investigated. MSU is determined to ensure a rigorous process in handling the allegations.

The news of Tucker's impending termination has caused a stir in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU released a statement reiterating its intent to terminate the coach's contract, citing the sexual harassment allegation as the cause. In the statement, athletic director Alan Haller stated that Tucker has seven days to respond and present reasons why he should not be terminated.

The university's letter to Tucker, shared in the statement, outlined the grounds for possible termination. It highlighted Tucker's alleged sexual harassment of activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call in April 2022. While Tucker vehemently denies the accusation, MSU considered his comments about the vendor's body, flirtation, and act of masturbating on the phone to be moral turpitude.

In response to Tucker's denial, Tracy accused him of attempting to delay and obstruct the investigative process from the beginning. Tracy's attorney, Karen Truszkowski, also criticized the leak of her client's identity to the media by an external party. MSU has expressed its intention to investigate the source of the leak that led to Tracy's identity being revealed.

As the termination process unfolds, the Michigan State University community and football fans eagerly await the outcome of the investigations and the resolution of this high-profile case.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 8:33 PM /

themes:  Michigan

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