Thursday, May 7, 2015
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Statements regarding arrest of Steward Butler

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Interim President Gary G. White issued the following statement this evening:

"We are aware of an online media report today that the Marshall University Athletic Department allegedly 'stonewalled' the Huntington Police Department's investigation into the April 5, 2015, incident concerning Steward Butler.

"Earlier today, I spoke with Athletic Director Mike Hamrick about this report and he is conducting an internal review of the chain of events leading up to Mr. Butler's arrest yesterday.

"As of close of business today, Mr. Hamrick has found absolutely no evidence that anyone in the Athletic Department was shown the video in question prior to Mr. Butler's arrest. Furthermore, he has found no evidence that anyone in the department refused to cooperate fully with the investigation. In fact, it is my understanding that football staff members were not, indeed, shown the video during the investigation, but were shown a screenshot from the video by the investigating officer and immediately identified Mr. Butler as the subject in the photograph.

"Similar to my unequivocal statement yesterday regarding behaviors that are not tolerated at Marshall University, I will add that any confirmed cover-up or stonewalling of an investigation by any Marshall University official would be considered an egregious breach of conduct and will be dealt with appropriately and swiftly, up to and including immediate dismissal.

"Marshall University including its Athletic Department and Police Department and the City of Huntington have a longstanding, trusting and cooperative partnership. I was assured by Mayor Williams today that he has no knowledge of any lack of cooperation, stonewalling or obstruction of any investigation by Marshall University or its Athletic Department.

"In the interest of full transparency, here is an outline of the timeline of events since the April 5, 2015, incident, as I understand it:

Shortly after the April 5, 2015, incident
The Marshall University Athletic Department was initially notified by the Huntington Police Department that there was an investigation into the alleged attack.

May 4, 2015
The Huntington Police Department notified the Marshall University Police Department (MUPD) of the investigation and the pending arrest of Mr. Butler. This is the first time MUPD was made aware of the incident or the investigation.
The chief of the MUPD notified me and the university's chief legal counsel. This is the first time either of us was made aware of the incident or the investigation.

May 5, 2015
Jim Terry, chief of the MUPD, went to the Huntington Police Department and viewed the video. This was, to our knowledge, the first time anyone at Marshall University saw the video.

May 6, 2015

Following Mr. Butler's arrest, Chief Terry took Mr. Hamrick and Director of the Office of Student Conduct Lisa Martin to the Huntington Police Department to watch the video. This is the first time any Marshall official besides Chief Terry saw the video. Immediately after viewing the video, Mr. Hamrick, along with Coach Doc Holliday, made the decision to dismiss Mr. Butler from the football team.

"In summary, based on what I know as of this evening, I have full confidence that all Marshall University officials have acted absolutely appropriately in this very serious matter. I also have complete confidence in Mike Hamrick's management of the Athletic Department and his commitment to integrity. We will settle for nothing less."


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -Marshall University Interim President Gary G. White issued the following statement today regarding the arrest of football player Steward Butler:

"The entire university community is shocked and disappointed to learn the details surrounding the alleged actions that led to Mr. Butler's arrest this morning.

"The type of violent, bigoted behavior reported to have been perpetrated by this student is not tolerated at Marshall University. Period. This is an extremely serious matter.

"We will allow the legal process to run its course and will act swiftly and appropriately within our Student Conduct System and according to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as more details become clear."

Statements from Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick:

3:20 p.m.: "Head Coach Doc Holliday and I have decided to dismiss running back Steward Butler from our program in light of additional information regarding his charges."

1:20 p.m.: "Marshall running back Steward Butler has been suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities as a result of recent charges filed against him. We take all accusations against our student-athletes seriously, especially those of such a sensitive nature. We hold all of our 350+ student-athletes to a high standard, on and off the playing surface, as ambassadors of Marshall University."

10:50 a.m.: "We are aware of the situation involving Marshall running back Steward Butler and are currently in the process of gathering all available information. We will handle the matter internally and appropriately."