An investigation into sexual harassment claims at Kennesaw State University has led to the termination of a softball coach and two suspensions thus far.
Administration at KSU received an anonymous letter on June 14 detailing various sexual harassment claims against former women’s softball coach Tory Acheson. The sender claimed to be an employee of the university who feared disclosing their identity.
The letter prompted an investigation from the university’s Title IX Committee, and Acheson was fired effective Aug. 3 after only two seasons with KSU.
The Title IX Committee is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful environment for living, working and study. They oversee all cases of inequality at KSU and insist that all students and faculty uphold the standards that Title IX stands for.
Six current undergraduate softball players, two former players and two assistant coaches were interviewed as witnesses in the investigation.
During the committee’s review of the allegations against Acheson, KSU identified several opportunities for improvement in its Title IX compliance. As a result of the investigation, the university is implementing changes to increase department Title IX training, new reporting structures and the development of enhanced departmental protocols.
The investigation also revealed an earlier anonymous letter that had been sent to Athletic Director Vaughn Williams and Senior Associate Athletic Director Scott Whitlock on April 12.
It is unknown if both letters were sent by the same person.
According to the investigation, Williams and Whitlock did not notify other departments of the university, such as legal affairs or the Title IX office. They did, however, share the letter with other members of the athletics department.
Williams reportedly dealt with the issues laid out against Acheson in the letter internally because he did not see it as a Title IX issue. As a result, Williams was effectively suspended for one week from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10 without pay.
Whitlock has also been suspended without pay, effective Aug. 22 through Aug. 26.
Acheson released a written statement Aug. 8 calling the investigation “career-crushing” and “possibly the worst day of [his] life.” In the statement, Acheson said he plans to appeal the claims against him and that he never inappropriately touched any players during his 35-year career.
“I love coaching softball,” Acheson said. “It is my passion. And now, because of this story, I am not sure that I will ever be able to coach again.”
The investigation is still ongoing as Acheson prepares his appeal.