Ohio University associate psychology professor Keith Markman, who was placed on paid administrative leave in spring 2016 after an altercation with a student, returned this semester to teach following a university investigation.
Markman, 49, was arrested in April 2016 after he allegedly assaulted and entered the home of an OU student who was his former girlfriend. He could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts.
OU's Office of University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance sent a letter with a Memorandum of Findings to Markman on Oct. 7 that stated the evidence proved Markman violated the university's policy on dating violence, but he did not violate the policy regarding consensual relationships.
OU's policy states that employee discipline for such violations can include censure, suspension or termination. The university can impose further measures in instances of dating violence, among other forms of sexual misconduct, according to the policy.
“There was really no reason for him not to come back to work,” Robert Frank, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “And certainly there was no concern on my part, nor I think on anyone else’s, that there would be any kind of retaliation or behavior that would in any way negatively impact any student’s progress or just generally have some kind of deleterious effect on the learning environment.”
Frank said the events did not occur on campus, so there was no concern about Markman having misused his position. Markman, who was hired in 2001, is set to make $88,571 this academic year, according to information obtained through a public records request.
“Dean Frank took appropriate administrative personnel action that allowed Professor Markman to return to campus and resume his teaching responsibilities,” OU Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood said in an email.
Markman was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony and assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, on April 4, 2016 toward an OU student who was his former girlfriend.
According to the Memorandum of Findings, the altercation began over an argument on Facebook Messenger that led to the student blocking Markman. At about 11 p.m. on April 3, Markman went unannounced to the student’s house, which is located in a different town than his, and " 'knocked' and 'pounded' on the door for approximately 15 to 30 seconds.”
Photographic evidence showed the door gave way, and Markman admitted to police he broke into the residence, according to the memorandum.
Markman also admitted to pushing the student. At the time, a witness reported having watched Markman punch the student with a closed fist, though the student refuted that statement, according to the memorandum.
Markman and the student were romantically or sexually involved between March and July 2015, according to the memorandum. They both denied having been romantically or sexually involved from August to December 2015 when Markman was the student’s professor.
Their relationship briefly resumed during January 2016, and the two were discussing getting back together in early April 2016.
Leatherwood said Markman accepted a plea agreement that resulted in the reduction of the charges from the April 4, 2016, incident. Markman pleaded guilty on June 9, 2016, to disorderly conduct for failure to disperse, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and criminal damaging or endangering, a first-degree misdemeanor.
He was set to serve 210 days in jail, but 209 of them were suspended, according to court records. He was also put on two-year nonrestrictive probation.
“The University has taken appropriate administrative personnel action to address Professor Markman’s conduct, including making sure Professor Markman understands his professional obligations and is committed to not repeating the conduct that violated university policy,” Leatherwood said in an email.
Frank said conditions regarding future actions were set in place before Markman was fully reinstated.
“He’s back, he’s a valued faculty member, and I look forward to him being productive in his role,” Frank said.