Suspensions handed down in wake of college sex scandal

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Three administrators were suspended from Lake Region State College after failing to report an inappropriate relationship between head softball coach Ben Morris and at least one student.

The firing of Lake Region State College head softball coach Ben Morris after at least one inappropriate relationship with a student came to light has led to the suspensions without pay of students services director Stephanie Shock and athletic director Danny Mertens.

Volleyball coach Brigitte Greywater was issued a letter of reprimand.

Lloyd Halvorson, vice president of academic and student affairs at the college, said that the trio was disciplined because they failed to report the relationship to school higher-ups.

LRSC released a statement on the matter:

“Lake Region State College has concluded its internal investigation into a consensual but inappropriate relationship involving former Head Softball Coach Ben Morris and a student. The college began an investigation on June 27, 2017.

As a result of the investigation, Vice President Lloyd Halvorson has recommended that Athletic Director Danny Mertens and Students Services Director Stephanie Shock serve a suspension without pay and Head Volleyball Coach Brigitte Greywater receive a formal written reprimand.

‘All LRSC employees are expected to perform their duties in the best interests of LRSC and its students.  We determined that Mertens, Shock, and Greywater failed to comply with LRSC reporting obligations, which interfered with the institution’s ability to identify and respond to the inappropriate relationship,’ Halvorson said.

Halvorson also states the three are dedicated LRSC employees in good standing, have demonstrated a high level of competence in the past, and have never been formally reprimanded during their time at LRSC.   ‘This is a proportional response and consistent with the principles of graduated discipline,’ he said.  

‘We want to reassure everyone that the well-being of our students is our top priority and we are committed to ongoing education, prevention and policies related to this issue,’ Halvorson said.

Lake Region State College is taking decisive actions to identify educational awareness training activities related to reporting obligations and will work to implement a code of ethics similar to that published by the NJCAA for members of the athletic staff and explore a more robust consensual relationships policy for our institution.”

Kory Boehmer, former head softball coach, will take over the team. He served in the role before Morris was hired.