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Friends, teammates support WSU football player suspended by 'flawed' system

Friends, teammates support WSU football player suspended by 'flawed' system

PULLMAN, Wash. -  Cougar moms, players and friends gave public testimony about Robert Barber during Washington State University's board of regents meeting on Friday.

The room was packed Friday morning as testimony after testimony was shared about senior football player Robert Barber.

Barber was expelled by the university's conduct board after his involvement in a fight that left one student with a concussion. After appealing that decision, Barber is now suspended from the university, both the classroom and the football field.

The statements of support for the 5th year senior followed by criticism of the university's conduct board.

"Why are we even doing this, why has it come to this at an institute of higher learning," said Gabe Marks, Barber's close friend and teammate, "I still see people on this campus that have done way worse things than what my friend is being expelled from a university for."

Many feel Barber was treated unfairly, saying he was racially profiled and not given proper procedure during his hearing with the board of conduct.

The heated meeting reaching a boiling point as WSU alumni, Senator Michael Baumgartner, stormed out in frustration, "If you don't fix this! I will!"

But not before he asked the school to lift all expulsions and suspensions from this semester.

"So the way to solve this is simply to recognize there is a problem with the process, lift all the non title nine expulsions, and a bunch of kids go back to class and you save a bunch of tax payer dollars," said Baumgartner.

Many at the meeting say WSU's board of conduct is overstepping.

"Washington State is in the business of educating and graduating students. It's not in the business of running a parallel criminal justice system through the student conduct board,"said Jill Osur-Meyers, founder of CougFam.

Barber's attorney filed a motion with a judge to put a stay on the suspension to allow him to return to school while the matter is reviewed.

WSU announced Friday there will be a 60 day review of the board of conduct's processes.

The meeting ended with no certainty on what will happen to Barber or his future.

"I would lose sleep over this, about making this decision about somebody's life, about a kid's life," said Marks.

Those who spoke today in defense of Barber had hoped the talented player would be reinstated in time for tomorrow's game, but the regents would not say when they would reconvene to make a decision.