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Kent State alumni, community asking for school's athletic director to step down

Kent State University
Posted at 8:48 AM, Oct 16, 2019

KENT, Ohio — Dozens of people have signed an online petition calling for the resignation of Kent State University's athletic director.

The change.org petitionwas started on Tuesday, nearly a month after Kent alumni and former employees sent a letter to the university's president asking for Joel Nielsen to step down.

The letter, signed by 20 people, said Nielsen should be removed for "the climate and gender equity problems within the department." The group is also accusing Nielsen of a sexual harassment cover-up.

The university responded to News 5 concerning the letter. In a statement, they said they are planning to conduct an already scheduled study on gender equity in athletics. Plus, "issues that were addressed in the letter and on the website will be considered as part of the gender equity study."

The letter was sent to the school's president following an incident from September, when school officials abruptly ended a women's field hockey game that was in double overtime. The decision was made so that fireworks could be set off prior to the start of the school's football game.

The field hockey game between Temple University and the University of Maine was ruled a no-contest.

Nielsen later issued an apology regrading the school's decision to end the game.

“In hindsight, a different decision should have been made to ultimately ensure the game reached its conclusion. We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and in this situation, we failed,” the statement reads in part.