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After Plea Deal, OU Psychology Professor Reinstated

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After being found liable for dating violence in a university investigation and entering a plea deal in a criminal case against him, an Ohio University Psychology professor is being reinstated as a faculty member.

Keith Markman
Keith Markman

The dean of the College of Arts and Sciences reinstated Keith Markman as a member of the Psychology department, ending his administrative leave for an incident in which he was accused of physical violence against a woman with whom he had been in a relationship. The woman was also an Ohio University student.

Markman was taken into custody in Lancaster on April 4, 2016, charged with aggravated burglary and assault, according to previous WOUB reporting.

The Bexley man was arrested after allegedly causing “apparent minor injury” to a woman on Wind River Drive in Lancaster, according to a report filed by the Lancaster Police Department. The report also accused him of forced entry into the residence of the victim.

Markman was put on administrative leave following the incident.

Documents from the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC) investigation that followed his arrest show that Markman went to the home to “discuss their relationship.”

According to official documents, Markman and the woman were having an “emotional dispute” which ended with witnesses saying Markman pushed the woman as they fought in the front yard.

The woman (and Markman) denied the altercation was “physical violent.”

Jessica Cook, the investigator from ECRC, noted that the woman did not file a complaint with ECRC. But Cook said the denials by Markman and the woman contradicted recorded statements and evidence from the night of the incident.

“Although (Markman) may have been upset or going through an ’emotional’ episode, it is ‘dating violence’ to push a former or current intimate partner while in the course of a loud, angry argument about the status of your relationship,” Cook wrote.

Markman admitted to police that he “broke in” to the woman’s house by forcing the front door open, and reports say the frame of the door was broken.

At the end of April, Markman pleaded guilty to criminal damaging/endangering and disorderly conduct-failure to disperse in a plea deal, according to Fairfield County Municipal Court records.

He was sentenced to two years of non-reporting probation.

ECRC concluded their investigation by recommending Markman receive “additional training” pertaining to OU’s sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking policy.

The investigator also recommended “guidance pertaining to appropriate behavior for faculty members at Ohio University” and that Markman pay to attend “a program that addresses healthy relationships training, batterer intervention training and/or anger management.”

Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Frank reinstated Markman to his “full duties as a faculty member” in October, after Markman submitted responses to ECRC disciplinary recommendations.

In addition to agreeing to the recommendations of ECRC, Markman was not allowed to teach a graduate seminar on social cognition for the Spring 2017 semester. He is also barred from recruiting a new graduate student advisee for the 2017-2018 academic year.

In a statement, university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said the university took “appropriate administrative personnel action to address (his) conduct, including making sure (he) understands his professional obligations and is committed to not repeating the conduct that violated university policy.”

An investigation by ECRC into whether the relationship between Markman and the woman violated OU’s “consensual relationship” policy was found to be unsubstantiated. Cook found that Markman had reported the relationship to department officials, and that the relationship had not occurred during any time when the woman was a student of Markman’s.

Markman is an associate professor of psychology, with research and specializations in social judgment and behavioral decision-making, according to his university profile.