WOUB Makes Changes in Student-Run Sports Department

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WOUB Public Media is cancelling two student-produced shows, dismissing student journalists, and implementing a corrective course for leadership in its student-run Sports Department.

The radio show FaceOff and the television program The Bobcat Sports Showcase are cancelled immediately.

These decisive actions were taken after WOUB employees learned of demeaning gender-based incidents that created an unacceptable work environment for some of the female students working within the Sports Department.

“WOUB’s strong response to the revealed events is our opportunity to say who we are as an institution dedicated to learning and developing the next generation of media leaders,” said Tom Hodson, director and general manager. “As we know, there are still glaring inequities in the personnel rosters of our nation’s newsrooms and sports departments. There’s no future in breeding the kind of behavior that allows exclusionary activities to fester and grow among our students. It will not be tolerated.”

WOUB Public Media is a non-academic unit within Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication. WOUB employs 42 professionals and provides practical tutelage for approximately 200 students in the news, digital, and sports operations.

“Individuals who work with WOUB have a long history of success within the industry after graduation,” Hodson said. “We can only remain a top-tier media program if we are bold enough to take strong action against a culture bent on dehumanizing and objectifying those who just want to grow their skills and go as far as their hard work will take them.”

Prior to being approved for a leadership position, WOUB’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Brewer, and Director of Production Services & Student Development, Michael Rodriguez, asked students to share their plan for diversifying the ranks and their overall commitment to gender and ethnic diversity. WOUB management says either by their participation or silence some of the student-leaders were not working toward their pre-stated goal of fostering an environment of inclusion.

On top of the show cancellations and students losing their privileges, WOUB is making gender bias and diversity training mandatory for all students who work for WOUB. WOUB says it will work with Ohio University’s Office of Institutional Equity and other resources to reinforce code of conduct expectations, university policies and professional behavior practices for the students.

“The investigation and fallout lets me know that our partnerships with, for instance, Ohio University’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, and the LGBT Center are on the right track – with A LOT more work to do,” said Allison Hunter, WOUB News’ editor-in-chief. “It is the hard but important work that our audiences and students expect from us as committed public media professionals.”

WOUB Public Media operates six television stations, five FM radio stations, an AM radio station, and a website.