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Ohio State University Strips Richard Strauss of Emeritus Status

Last week, Ohio State University announced that it will revoke the professor emeritus title granted to Dr. Richard Strauss.

The university’s board of trustees voted unanimously to strip the honor bestowed on Strauss, who sexually abused nearly 177 former students during his employment with the university from 1978 to 1998.

Strauss was removed as a physician from the university in 1996 after he was reported to the State Medical Board of Ohio. He was allowed to voluntarily retire in 1998 with emeritus status.

Last month, the law firm Perkins Coie released a report alleging university officials of having prior information about Strauss’ misconduct as early in 1979. The report further accused school officials of not investigating his actions and failing to report his misconduct to law enforcement.

“Strauss’ acts of abuse ranged from the overt — such as fondling to the point of erection and ejaculation — to more subtle acts of abuse that were masked with a pretextual medical purpose — for example, requiring a student-patient to strip completely naked to purportedly ‘assess’ an orthopedic condition, or asking probing questions about a student-patients sexual practices or performance,” the report said.

In response to criticism over its handling of the complaints, the university has launched various new initiatives. Last week, president Michael V. Drake announced the creation of a new task force that will include survivors of sexual misconduct, Ohio State and national scholars to study sexual misconduct and prevent abuse on college campuses across the nation.

“Our responsibility as Buckeyes is to protect the safety and well-being of our community,” Drake said. “Our role as leaders in higher education is to work every day to ensure all students, employees, and families share those same fundamental protections.”

Last week, the university was sued by 37 former students, mostly football players and wrestlers, for its poor response to sexual assault complaints made against the former doctor.

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