Local News

Judge will consider request to lift WSU football player's suspension

PULLMAN, Wash. - A judge in Whitman County will consider a motion next week to stay the suspension of WSU senior football player Robert Barber.

You can read the full response here.

Barber was disciplined by the University's Student Conduct Board and Appeals Boards for his role in a house party brawl last summer. His suspension went into effect immediately last month, resulting in his removal from classes and the football team. That suspension has led to a backlash online and last week at a meeting of the WSU Board of Regents; critics are calling for a reform of the conduct board and Barber's reinstatement.

Attorneys filed a motion in Whitman County Court to stay Barber's suspension. They argue Barber was the victim of an unfair process and of a deliberate attempt to ruin his life.

WSU responded to the court motion last week, laying out a case that describes Barber, who has not yet been charged with a crime, as a danger to the community.

"Mr. Barber's violent actions left another student bleeding from the head and unconscious with a concussion," the university wrote in its response. "Parents, students and other community members have a legitimate expectation that the University will respond promptly to address violent student behavior that causes harm to other students."

At his hearing before the conduct board, Barber acknowledged he hit the other student, saying he felt threatened. The board rejected that defense.

WSU maintains it suspended Barber under "public health, safety, or welfare grounds, specifically that he poses a threat to students and others." The university also rejects claims from Barber's attorney that the conduct board process violates constitutional standards for due process. "Student conduct proceedings are not criminal proceedings, and students are not entitled to all the procedural safeguards accorded criminal defendants."

In its conclusion, WSU writes, "Because of the seriousness of Mr. Barber's violations, allowing him to return to WSU could cause significant harm to the WSU community and pose a threat to other students."

Each side will argue before a judge in Whitman County Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am.