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President Drake announces sexual abuse task force in light of Strauss report

Richard Strauss, a former wrestling team physician and an assistant professor of medicine, is being investigated by Ohio State on allegations of sexual misconduct. Credit: Lantern file photo

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake announced the formation of a task force to prevent serial sexual abuse at college campuses at the full Board of Trustees meeting Friday.

The task force will be formed in light of multiple cases of serial abuse at higher institutions and the conclusion that Ohio State failed to stop former physician Dr. Richard Strauss from abusing at least 177 students during his 20-year tenure.

The task force will include survivors of sexual abuse and Ohio State scholars and national scholars who will use the information from the Strauss report as well as other resources to advance the national conversation around sexual misconduct on college campuses.

“Multiple cases of serial sexual abuse at a variety of institutions suggests strongly the need for a consolidated and collaborative effort. We need to work together to ensure that this kind of abuse can never be hidden or ignored,” Drake said.   

Drake also said that Ohio State will play a leadership role in preventing abuse not only at this university, but other institutions across the country.

“This issue remains prevalent in our society. We will use the lessons of the past to play a leadership role in confronting the problem head-on,” Drake said.

In the meeting, Drake reiterated the “regret and apologies” for the university’s inaction against Strauss, and he emphasized the support being offered to the survivors in the form of lifelong free counseling as well as the reimbursement of previous counseling costs.

The Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee voted to revoke Strauss’ professor emeritus status Thursday, and the full Board approved the revocation with unanimous consent during its meeting Friday.  

Strauss sexually abused students and athletes while he served as a team doctor for 17 varsity sports and a physician in the Student Health Center, as well as an off-campus clinic, according to the investigative report released May 17. The independent investigation into Strauss concluded that university administrators knew of Strauss’ conduct and failed to act.

This article has been updated from its original version to include the decision made by the Board at the end of Friday’s full meeting.

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