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Investigators find no evidence to support discrimination allegations

Thursday, December 31, 2015

University SealThe Missouri State University Board of Governors announced that an independent review regarding allegations of race-based discrimination has found no credible evidence to support those claims. The full report was shared with the Board prior to the Dec. 30 meeting.

“Our investigators interviewed 38 individuals on and off campus and we are confident that they were both thorough and impartial in their pursuit of the facts in this case,” said Stephen Hoven, Board chairperson. “We are extremely pleased with the manner with which the allegations were investigated. The bottom line is that the report does not find evidence to support claims of discrimination and we are absolutely confident that this conclusion is accurate. We fully support President Smart’s leadership with respect to issues of diversity and inclusion at Missouri State and reiterate our desire to see the university continue to make progress toward achieving those critical goals.”

The investigation was prompted by recent allegations and charges made via a MoveOn.org petition that alleged that Dr. Ken Coopwood, the university’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, had been subjected to discriminatory treatment on the basis of his race. The Board selected the law firm of Ellis, Ellis, Hammons & Johnson, P.C., to conduct the independent investigation. The lead investigator was John D. Hammons, Jr. He was assisted by Jessica R. Hill and Nicole L. Hutson.

“I fully welcomed this investigation and believe in the need to be transparent,” said Missouri State President Clif Smart. “I am pleased that the report supports our assertions that Missouri State strives to be a diverse and inclusive campus.”

Because much of the investigation involved personnel issues, university policy prevents sharing specific information about internal complaints or other personnel matters, including identities of those interviewed. However, an executive summary concerning the investigation is available online.

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