USU police chief resigns after alleged controversial comments made to student athletes

Former USU police chief Earl Morris. Photo: USU

LOGAN, Utah, Dec. 16, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah State University Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Earl Morris resigned Thursday following his alleged controversial comments made to student athletes.

“Morris had been placed on administrative leave Wednesday pending confirmation of reprehensible and unacceptable comments made to USU student-athletes,” according to a statement from USU. “The university was made aware of those recorded comments earlier this week.”

It is alleged that in a meeting with USU football players in the fall, Morris told players to make sure that if they have sex, it is consensual. According to multiple media reports, Morris warned the team that LDS women will often tell their bishop that sex was nonconsensual because it’s “easier,” and they might be “feeling regret” for having sex before marriage.

Early on Wednesday, Dec. 15, Morris was placed on administrative leave pending confirmation of information received earlier this week. “This information included reprehensible recorded comments made to USU student-athletes,” said a statement from the university Wednesday. “USU is seeking a copy of the recording.”

The statement added: “The university recognizes this is a very serious matter and will take further action to ensure students are treated equitably when misconduct occurs and that survivors feel supported. The leader of the university’s police department must have the trust of the campus community.

“The recorded comments are not consistent with the university’s values or the trainings provided on sexual misconduct at Utah State, nor do they reflect USU’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct and reduce barriers to reporting. Students and employees should feel confident that when they report sexual misconduct, the university will respond without bias.

“USU stands firm in its commitment to create a campus culture where individuals understand and practice sexual respect, and survivors of sexual assault are supported.”

The statement said that over the last five years, the university has instituted mandatory prevention education for students and additional education for student-athletes, hired two staff positions in the Office of Equity to support students, updated policies and procedures, created informational materials to better inform the campus community, introduced the Upstanding program, conducted three campus climate surveys to gauge students’ experiences and university progress, and participated in the annual Start by Believing campaign.

“Additionally, in January 2020, USU Police created a specialized unit that includes a confidential advocate from the Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Office and a dedicated law enforcement detective to respond to reported incidents of sex crimes and domestic violence.”

Kent Harris has been named interim director and police chief, Thursday’s statement said. Harris has more than 30 years of police experience and has been a member of the USU Police for the past 12 years. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from USU.

For more information about how the university supports those who experience sexual misconduct, please visit


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