MONDAY, March 29 — The board of the Michigan Press Association suspended today board member Dave Clark, the student newspaper adviser at Central Michigan University, which placed him on leave last week in connection with the TJ Bucholz scandal.
The association issued a statement that said Clark was being suspended because the bylaws require board members to be able to "actively" represent their newspapers and institutions, which Clark cannot do while under suspension from CMU.
"This is a decision made as the result of a bylaw requirement," the MPA press release said. "It is not a statement about Mr. Clark's innocence or guilt."
CMU suspended Clark and journalism Professor Steve Coon while it looks into whether they properly reported knowledge of the accuations against Bucholz, a political consultant in Lansing, to CMU. Since Wednesday nearly a dozen women have come forward accusing Bucholz of sexual harassment and having an abusive workplace.
Clark was placed on leave by CMU Wednesday after Kersten Kruze, a senior, revealed he had shared with her in a Facebook conversation that he had been aware that Bucholz, owner of Vanguard Public Affairs, was a “creeper” and had stopped referring people to work there “a long time ago.” Kruze provided screenshots of that conversation with Clark to City Pulse.
CMU has promised a thorough investigation of whether Clark adequately reported what he knew to the university.
“We take these allegations seriously and we also believe in innocent until proven guilty,” MPA Board President Julie Stafford said Saturday. “Therefore, we will be convening a full meeting of the MPA Board early next week to decide whether Mr. Clark will be suspended until the results of the investigation by CMU are known or removed from the board.”
An effort to reach Clark for comment was unsuccessful.
Coon was also placed on leave this week after former employees of Vanguard and CMU graduates revealed he too had been notified of the poor working environment at Vanguard. Coon, according to Kruze who confronted him about the allegations, denied the claims were true and that it was politics in Lansing working to prevent Bucholz from being successful.
Neither Coon nor Clark reported the student concerns to CMU officials as required under university policies.
The executive committee of the MPA board met Saturday afternoon. The committee called a special meeting in order to hear evidence about Clark’s knowledge of Bucholz’ allegedly toxic and sexually harassing workplace at Vanguard Public Affairs.