Matt Barnett, The Post’s former business manager, resigned from his position following allegations he made suggestive comments to female Post staff members and purchased alcoholic beverages for underage students.
Barnett, 45, who was hired into Ohio University’s Division of Student Affairs in fall 2016, submitted a letter of resignation dated Aug. 23 to Megan Vogel, special assistant to the Vice President and director of Resource Administration. Vogel is also a non-voting member of The Post Publishing Board, which appoints the editor-in-chief and approves the annual budget.
The Division of Student Affairs oversees the business manager position at The Post. The business manager has an office within The Post newsroom but has no control over editorial decisions made by student workers within the newsroom.
The Post obtained via a public records request a memorandum of findings from the Human Resources department dated Aug. 22 that states "the following facts (were) more likely true than not true":
- Barnett reportedly received a verbal reprimand for drinking alcohol with students in January 2017. Drinking with students violated work rules and the code of conduct in Student Affairs.
- He later reportedly purchased alcohol for several students, some of whom were younger than 21 years old, during the Summer Semester. Barnett “knew, or should have known, that (the students) were under the age of 21 years,” the memorandum reads.
- He also reportedly made an unwelcome comment in a direct message on social media to a female Post staff member, who “reduced socialization with her friends and members of The Post in an effort to avoid interaction with Employee Matt Barnett.”
In a Human Resources interview, Barnett stated that he may have made “off-color” comments to an additional female Post staff member.
Barnett said he resigned “for failing to keep the cultural expectations set forth by Student Affairs.”
“I had an amazing experience with many talented colleagues,” he said in an email.
Vogel declined to comment on Barnett’s case in particular.
"The University's first priority is the safety of our students and ensuring they have a respectful and healthy environment in which to learn and work,” Vogel said in an email. “Providing alcohol to underage individuals is against the law and is against the values of Ohio University."
Hans Meyer, the chair of The Post Publishing Board, said he was not aware of the contents of the report until Vogel informed him of Barnett’s resignation.
“I think Student Affairs and HR handled the situation properly, paying due diligence to student concerns while also ensuring the process was fair for Matt,” Meyer, an associate professor of journalism, said in an email.
Barnett was offered and accepted the position of business manager on Sept. 7, 2016, and he made $49,000 during his year in the role. The Post continues to have a student sales team selling ads.