VSU officially announced the conclusion of its investigation into accusations of discrimination within the baseball team, finding wrongdoing on the part of the head coach and offering reinstatement for a former player.
Head Coach Greg Guilliams was previously accused of racial discrimination regarding a player’s hair length in August. However, a committee led by VSU’s Office of Human Resources found no evidence of this in their investigation of the incident.
They did find evidence that Guilliams violated two policies in the University System of Georgia’s Code of Conduct, including: “The requirement to act as a good steward of VSU’s resources and information entrusted to its care,” and his obligation “to treat fellow employees, students, and the public with dignity and respect.”
As a result, Guilliams will be required to undergo mandatory training on interpersonal and multi-generational communication, leadership and conflict management, among other recommendations.
According to the statement posted to social media by VSU, the investigation was conducted over a five-week period. The video was first posted to TikTok on Aug. 22 by former player Asher Akridge, where it eventually went viral.
In the video, Akridge is heard expressing to Guilliams that he believed the rule regarding hair length allowed him to pull his long hair up and out of the way. When Guilliams tells Akridge he did not explain the rule clearly, Akridge disputes him by pointing out discrepancies within the hairstyles of his teammates.
Guilliams replies that the conversation involves Akridge and him only, not the entire team. When Akridge expresses that his hair has now been cut within regulation, Guilliams is heard responding that it still is not short enough for Akridge to regain his spot on the team and that there is no way for him to allow Akridge to return.
Following the announcement of their findings, VSU’s released statement states that Akridge will be invited to rejoin the baseball team should he so choose, and the hair-length policy will be reviewed by VSU’s Athletic Department.
“VSU is a special place for all students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and it was critical that this investigation be given the time and attention it deserved,” the statement read. “President Richard Carvajal and the VSU leadership team remain dedicated to maintaining a fair, respectful, and non-discriminatory environment for all, and that work will continue.”
As of 10 p.m. on Oct. 25, the statement has amassed almost 300 comments on Instagram, many of which do not agree with the committee’s findings.
This story will be updated as more information is released.
Written by Bailey Storey, Co-Editor-in-Chief. Photo courtesy of Sean Winters via Flickr.