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WSU President Kirk Schulz comments on Robert Barber's reinstatement

WSU's top administrator says the school will respect the Whitman County Court decision to reinstate Cougar NT Robert Barber, with his football status up to the athletic department.

Kirk Schulz

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz will respect the Whitman County Court’s decision to issue a stay of Robert Barber’s suspension, originally issued by the school’s Student Conduct Board in October, the administrator said in a university release. This means Barber will be returning to the classroom immediately, allowing the senior to pick up that final credit for graduation while on the Pullman campus.

As for Barber’s football future, Schulz says the nose tackle’s status will be determined by the athletic department. Football coaches and players have advocated for Barber throughout the process, including at a Regents board meeting earlier this month. Given that, a return to the practice field and game action seems likely.

Barber has not played for the team since its Oct. 22 victory at Arizona State, meaning he has missed nearly a month of time on the practice field and three games. If the athletic department allows it, Barber will be available for WSU’s final two regular season games against Colorado and Washington, as well as any postseason contests.

In the statement, Schulz also reiterated WSU’s effort to evaluate its Student Conduct Board process with an independent law firm. The validity of the board has been scrutinized for its handling of Barber’s case. The full text of the release can be found below:

We respect today’s decision by the Whitman County Superior Court and immediately will reinstate Robert Barber as a student at Washington State University in good academic standing. We look forward to a final decision by the court early next year.

With his reinstatement as a student, the athletic department will determine Mr. Barber’s status as an active member of the Cougar football team.

In the meantime, we will continue moving forward with the external review of our student conduct process, which was launched October 28. Lyons O’Dowd, a law firm with experience in education law, is examining our current process, focusing on public concerns raised this fall about alleged racial and ethnic bias in decisions made by board. We expect to have that review in hand by early January. The court’s decision highlights the need for this review.

The WSU Regents, my leadership team, and I are deeply committed to ensuring that our students are treated fairly by the university. As I mentioned earlier this month, we will engage in a vigorous process involving the WSU community to create a nationally recognized best-in-class student conduct process.

Kirk Schulz