The recent admission of a graduate student to the educational psychology program at the University of Utah strikes a fearful blow to all parents who assume that university administrators and faculty members are concerned with providing a safe environment for their children. This website will provide parents, students, and citizens within the community the information concerning this individual’s unethical and sexual misconduct.
On August 20, 2007 the University of Utah educational psychology department allowed a graduate student/employee into their program, by the name of William Barlow Elder, who had been previously expelled on October 3, 2006 from Baylor University for unethical and sexual misconduct.
While Mr. Elder was a graduate student/counselor at Baylor University there were some concerns raised about some unethical and sexual misconduct. The university performed an investigation of Mr. Elder's misconduct and determined the following:
Computer records showed that Mr. Elder was using university computers to solicit sexual acts with other students and individuals.
Correspondence and emails, written by Mr. Elder and sent through university computers, determined that Mr. Elder took advantage of his position as a graduate student/counselor to have sex with students and individuals in university classrooms and his office in the university counseling center.
Computer records determined that Mr. Elder was using university computers to view sexually oriented web sites during his work hours as a counselor. It was further determined, based upon computer records, that some of these web sites were associated with disturbing content of sexual violence and incest.
It was also determined, based upon written material by Mr. Elder, that Mr. Elder was unethically discussing confidential information, with third-parties, about mental/emotional conditions of other individuals.
Based upon the fact that Mr. Elder took advantage of his position as a counselor and showed no meaningful remorse for his misconduct, Mr. Elder’s prior university determined that his immediate expulsion was in the best interest of providing a safe environment for their students.
In April of 2007 the following University of Utah departments received information pertaining to William Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct that led to his expulsion:
University of Utah
380 S. 1530 E. Room 502
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
University of Utah-Graduate School
302 Park Building
201 South Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Even though the University of Utah admissions office and the psychology department had prior knowledge of this individual’s unethical and sexual misconduct, they still chose to ignore their responsibilities of taking the necessary steps to provide their students with a safe environment. The University of Utah educational psychology program that Mr. Elder was given admission to is a program where graduate students will interact with children, students, and patients within a counseling setting. The fact that this university program requires that a student be trusted with the responsibility of counseling children, students, and patients should provide a situation where administrators and faculty members are cautious about whom they admit to this type of program.
Even though the University of Utah ignored the severity of Mr. Elder’s misconduct, other universities (Pennsylvania, Missouri, etc.) that Mr. Elder sought admission to were alarmed when they learned about Mr. Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct. These universities determined that Mr. Elder was not truthful or forthcoming on his admission applications about his prior misconduct and expulsion. All of these universities, except for the University of Utah, recognized the severity of Mr. Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct and felt that the safety of their students took priority over the admission of this individual.
Given the fact that the University of Utah admissions office and the psychology department chose to ignore the severity of Mr. Elder’s misconduct, a number of administrators/faculty members were notified in August regarding the details of this situation. The following is a list of those individuals:
Dr. Michael Young
ffice of the President
Dr. David Chapman
Dr. David Pershing
Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Randy Dryer
University of Utah-Board of Trustees
Dr. Elaine Clark
Faculty Members-Educational Psychology Dept.
The letter sent to these individuals, listed above, is provided below:
To Whom It May Concern:
It has been brought to our attention that an individual by the name of William Barlow Elder has recently become associated with the graduate school. Mr. Elder was a graduate student in the clinical psychology program, at Baylor University, prior to his expulsion from the university as a result of his unethical and sexual misconduct. Through an investigation it was determined that Mr. Elder had been using school computers and school facilities to solicit sexual acts with other students and individuals. It was further determined through correspondence and emails, which were sent through university computers by Mr. Elder, that Mr. Elder had sex with other students and individuals in university classrooms and his office in the counseling center on campus.
Mr. Elder was not only a graduate student but also a counselor for the university counseling center where he was expected to perform his duties with an ethical standard. It was determined through correspondence and university computer logs that Mr. Elder was using college computers to frequent sexual websites during his work hours as a counselor. Further investigation of these web sites determined that several of them were associated with extremely disturbing content pertaining to sexual violence and incest. There were also concerns, based upon written material by Mr. Elder, that Mr. Elder was discussing confidential information with third-parties about mental/emotional conditions of other individuals. The fact that Mr. Elder, who was in a trusted position of counseling students and working with children, would knowingly engage in such serious misconduct with no apparent concern for the ramifications of his behavior, was unacceptable and horrendous.
After a thorough investigation of Mr. Elder’s conduct, it was determined by the university that the best course of action was immediate expulsion since his conduct was negatively affecting the educational/counseling process and potentially harming other students. Following Mr. Elder’s expulsion, there were comments made by him stating that he felt that his actions were acceptable in his opinion. The fact that Mr. Elder showed no meaningful remorse and felt that his unethical conduct was acceptable demonstrates the type of character this individual has.
Since Mr. Elder’s expulsion, there have been inquiries made to Baylor University from other colleges, where Mr. Elder has applied for admission, concerning his brief period in the psychology graduate program and it was subsequently determined by these other colleges that Mr. Elder was not honest or forthcoming on his admissions applications when asked if he had any prior disciplinary actions at other colleges. The fact that Mr. Elder has not been honest when applying to other colleges about his expulsion at Baylor University, further demonstrates the unethical character of Mr. Elder.
The prospect of this individual being placed in a position where he has the authority and responsibilities of counseling and influencing other students, individuals, or children is not only inappropriate, but also a potential liability for any college since parents expect that their children will have a safe environment while attending college.
Attached is a document with copies of emails and conversations, written by Mr. Elder, that were used as evidence for his expulsion. The Judicial Affairs office at Baylor University maintains disciplinary records concerning serious misconduct by students. The university may disclose certain information concerning these records, without written consent from the student, to officials of another university where that student might be seeking admission or is currently attending. (FERPA Section 99.31)
This information is being brought to your attention so that you are advised of Mr. Elder’s previous unethical and sexual misconduct and of the potential liabilities that could stem from any future misconduct he might be involved with if he is a student/counselor in your program.
** The documents referred to in the above letter may be downloaded from the links listed at the end of this website.
Any parents who have children that are currently attending the University of Utah must ask themselves why the university would choose to place an individual who committed serious sexual misconduct in a position where he will be working with students, children, and patients. In the future Mr. Elder will be placed in a counseling position on campus and within the community to counsel students and children, and based upon Mr. Elder’s lack of remorse for his prior unethical and sexual misconduct there is a strong potential that Mr. Elder will repeat his prior misconduct. If a student or child is subjected to this individual’s misconduct in the future, then why should parents be placed in a position of asking why it was not prevented since university officials had prior knowledge of this individual’s misconduct. The faculty members and administrators listed above, who were provided with this information, may be held responsible for any harm to a student or child as a result of any future misconduct perpetrated by Mr. Elder. Please realize that as taxpayers and citizens of Utah your money goes to fund this university and you should expect that your children have a safe environment where they can be educated without the fear of being subjected to unethical and sexual misconduct. It is one thing to have no knowledge of this information and not have the foresight to prevent it, but it is another thing to have this knowledge and not take the necessary steps to protect your children.It is important to let university officials and the educational psychology department know that as parents you insist that the university take every precaution to assure the safety of their students.In addition to voicing your concerns to university officials, it is important to take the time to call or email the following representatives to inform them that you do not approve of your tax dollars going to support a university that allows an graduate student/employee, who has perpetrated serious unethical and sexual misconduct, to be placed in a position to counsel students, children, and patients within the university and the community.
Salt Lake County Representatives:
Utah State Representatives:
As a parent myself and someone involved in the field of education, I believe that one of the top priorities of any school should be the encouragement of an environment that promotes the well-being and safety of its students. For this reason, it is essential that students and parents are informed about Mr. Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct since the university administrators have not taken the necessary steps to provide a safe environment. University officials should recognize that top priority here is the safety and well-being of the students and children who will have some form of interaction with this individual in the counseling program. If a student, child, or patient is harmed in the future, as a result of any misconduct perpetrated by this individual, then any university official or faculty member who chose to ignore this information must seriously ask themselves how they will look that student or child in the eyes and tell them that what happened to them could have been prevented.
DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO MR. ELDER’S UNETHICAL AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
The following download link provides copies of documents pertaining to Mr. Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct. These documents, which were written by Mr. Elder and sent through university computers, were used as evidence at Mr. Elder’s expulsion hearing.
Since Mr. Elder was still utilizing his university email account after his expulsion, copies of his emails were maintained in the event of any disputes raised concerning his expulsion. The following links provide copies of email correspondences that clearly demonstrate Mr. Elder’s attitude toward his misconduct and the length to which he went to conceal the information about his unethical and sexual misconduct.
Even though other universities were highly concerned by Mr. Elder’s misconduct and chose not to admit him, the University of Utah was provided with the above information and still chose to admit an individual who perpetrated serious misconduct.
It appears that university officials and/or Mr. Elder have tried to have these download links removed in the effort to conceal Mr. Elder's unethical and sexual misconduct from the public.
If for any reason the above download links fail to operate properly you can requeat copies of the evidence pertaining to Mr. Elder's sexual misconduct from the following email address:
SENIOR OFFICIAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH MAKES FALSE STATEMENT TO CONCEAL THE TRUTH.
A senior official at the University of Utah chose to falsely inform a parent about the situation regarding Mr. Elder’s unethical and sexual misconduct.
On September 13, 2007 Dr. David Pershing, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, deceptively informed a parent that Mr. Elder had “graduated from Baylor University”. The following request was made to Mr. Pershing to provide proof to substantiate his false statement:
“Mr. Pershing stated that Mr. Elder had “graduated” from Baylor University in good standing. We would also ask that Mr. Pershing provide information to substantiate this baseless claim. The only university that William Barlow Elder has graduated from is the University of Utah where he earned his bachelor degree. After the completion of Mr. Elder’s bachelor degree, Mr. Elder was accepted to the graduate clinical psychology program at Baylor University. This graduate program is a highly intensive program that requires approximately nine years to complete. Mr. Elder was a student in this program for a little over a year before his expulsion, on October 3, 2006, for unethical and sexual misconduct. At the time of Mr. Elder’s expulsion, Mr. Elder still had approximately eight years to complete the graduate program before he was even eligible for graduation from Baylor University. The following article from the Baylor newspaper, dated nine months prior to Mr. Elder’s expulsion, clearly states that Mr. Elder was a first year graduate student in the psychology program.
There is no conceivable way that any student in the graduate clinical psychology program, at Baylor University, could ever graduate in a little over a year. The written statement made by Mr. Pershing that Mr. Elder had “graduated” from Baylor University in good standing is absolutely false. We would ask that Mr. Pershing substantiate his statement by providing a record of Mr. Elder’s graduation, from Baylor University, since there are no alumni records or graduation records that confirm that Mr. Elder has ever graduated from Baylor University.”
Even though the above request was sent to Dr. Pershing on October 1, 2007, to this date Dr. Pershing has not provided any proof to substantiate his false statement. The question parents must ask themselves is if university officials have no reason to be concerned about Mr. Elder’s prior misconduct and expulsion, then why would the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs make a false statement to a parent about Mr. Elder graduating from Baylor University when the evidence clearly shows that Mr. Elder was expelled for serious misconduct?
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH OFFICIALS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PRIVACY LAWS TO RATIONALIZE THE ADMISSION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO PERPUTRATED SERIOUS MISCONDUCT.
University of Utah officials have questioned the reasons behind Baylor University’s chose of non-disclosure of information concerning Mr. Elder’s misconduct and expulsion. The explanation for Baylor University’s non-disclosure is explained in the following excerpt from a correspondence with Mr. Trevor Long:
It should come as no surprise to you that officials are doing what is in the best interest of the university. As you know the privacy of student records, which includes disciplinary records, are governed by the FERPA act. The FERPA act permits, but does not mandate, the disclosure of certain information pertaining to student records. The university also has privacy guidelines concerning the disclosure of information pertaining to student records.
The university’ s privacy guidelines clearly state: “that the final results of a disciplinary proceeding will “not” be disclosed by Baylor University unless Baylor University determines as a result of the disciplinary proceeding that: 1) the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense. and 2) with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of Baylor University’s rules.” This guideline clearly states that a student’s situation must satisfy both requirements before the university will release any information about the results of a disciplinary proceeding.
The FERPA act clearly states that “a crime of violence constitutes arson, assault, aggravated assault, burglary, homicide, manslaughter, vandalism of property, kidnapping, robbery, rape, forcible sex, and forcible fondling”. The FERPA act also clearly states that “a non-forcible sex offense constitutes statutory rape and incest”. As a result of these definitions the university believes that Mr. Elder’s misconduct does not meet the requirements of section 1 pertaining to “crimes of violence” or “non-forcible sex offenses”. Based upon that fact, university officials will not acknowledge that Mr. Elder was expelled from the university.
The university realizes that if they disclose the fact that Mr. Elder left on bad terms then they may be placed in a position where they have to explain why he left on those terms; and that would result in a violation of the university’s privacy guidelines. They also realize that if they disclose the fact that Mr. Elder was expelled from the university then that would also result in a violation of the university’s privacy guidelines. Mr. Elder also informed certain individuals at the university that he had obtained advice from an attorney regarding his privacy rights and legal recourses pertaining to the release of any information about his expulsion. University officials believe that if they acknowledge or discuss any information about Mr. Elder’s expulsion then the university could be placed in a position to face civil penalties for violating Mr. Elder’s privacy rights. Since university officials realize that Mr. Elder is someone else’s problem now, they just want to forget that this situation ever happened and not ever discuss it again. Even though Baylor University is restricted by their privacy guidelines, the fact that Mr. Elder is taking advantage of those guidelines to hide his unethical and sexual misconduct from other universities is just another example of his unethical character.
Baylor University administrators have vehemently followed the above non-disclosure approach for numerous years. The following article, written in 2001, clearly notes that Baylor University will not release any information pertaining to an investigation and disciplinary actions of a student’s misconduct.
Along with Baylor’s firm standing on their privacy guidelines there is also the fact that Mr. Elder obtained an attorney to notify certain individuals within the university that the release of any information pertaining to his sexual misconduct and expulsion would be deemed a violation of his federal privacy rights. Baylor University administrators realize that if they make any statements or provide any information concerning Mr. Elder’s misconduct or expulsion then they would be placing Baylor University in a position of facing civil liability for the violation of federal privacy guidelines. The University of Utah officials have utilized Baylor’s non-disclosure policy as an excuse to rationalize their decision to admit Mr. Elder to their educational psychology program.