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Memorial University volleyball coach temporarily removed from duties

John Slauenwhite
John Slauenwhite - Memorial University

Interim coach has been appointed as university investigates complaint

John Slauenwhite, the coach who guided the Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s volleyball team to back-to-back berths in the Atlantic University Conference’s championship game in 2016 and 2017, won’t be behind the Sea-Hawks’ bench when Memorial plays host to the 2018 AUS championship next month.

That’s because Slauenwhite, the 2016 AUS coach of the year, has been temporarily removed from his coaching duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation following a formal complaint received by the university.

Slauenwhite has not travelled with the Sea-Hawks on their past two weekend road trips to Halifax (Dalhousie) and Wolfville, N.S. (Acadia), in which they went 0-6, and was not behind the bench Jan. 19-21 when the Sea-Hawks played host to UNB at the Field House.

In response to The Telegram’s query as to the whereabouts of Slauenwhite, and whether he will be coaching the Sea-Hawks in the AUS championship March 2-3 at the Field House, Memorial issued the following statement:

“The university has received a formal complaint against the coach of the women’s volleyball team. After reviewing the details of the complaint, and reviewing all university processes and procedures, it was determined that an investigation into the complaint will follow the university’s non-academic appeals procedure. These procedures were established to ensure that student complaints about university employees are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner. An investigator has been appointed and is expected to report on the complaint by April 20. An interim coach has been appointed while the investigation is underway.”

Bill Thistle, who coached the Sea-Hawks prior to Slauenwhite’s arrival in 2014, is back behind Memorial’s bench in Slauenwhite’s absence.

Dave Sorenson, Memorial’s manager of communications, said any complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault at the university is directed to the Sexual Harassment Office, and governed by the university's sexual harassment and sexual assault policy.

That does not apply to the Slauenwhite investigation.

Slauenwhite, a Nova Scotia native, is a full-time volleyball coach at Memorial. In 2015-16, his second year at the helm, Slauenwhite led the Sea-Hawks to their first winning season in eight years, and Memorial’s first AUS championship game appearance in 16 years.

The Sea-Hawks repeated that feat last season.

This year, Memorial finished 8-12 for the fourth and final playoff spot in the AUS.

robin.short@thetelegram.com

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