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 web site will provide parents and citizens with the information that university administrators do not want them to know concerning this individual’s misconduct and the safety of their children at the University of Utah.
On August 20, 2007 the University of Utah psychology department welcomed a student into their program, by the name of William Barlow Elder, who had been previously expelled from a prior university for unethical and sexual misconduct.
While Mr. Elder was a graduate student/counselor at his prior university there were some concerns raised about some unethical and sexual misconduct. The university performed a thorough investigation of Mr. Elder's conduct 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 frequent 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 William 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 for providing a safe environment for their students.
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 psychology program that Mr. Elder has been given admission to is a program that requires graduate students to interact with children, students, and patients within a counseling setting. Mr. Elder will also be expected, by the university, to work within the community as a counselor for university sanctioned counseling programs. 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.
Based upon the fact that the admissions office and the psychology department received this information four months prior to August 20, 2007, raises the question of whether the university officials are sincerely concerned with protecting the children, students, and patients that Mr. Elder will interact with as part of the university program.
In April of 2007 the following 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
Graduate School University of Utah
302 Park Building 201
South Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9016
In addition to the University of Utah, other universities from Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Iowa requested information concerning Mr. Elder’s brief period at his prior university. These universities determined that Mr. Elder was not truthful on his admission applications about his prior misconduct and expulsion. Based upon the fact that Mr. Elder was not honest with other universities about his expulsion, there is the strong likelihood that Mr. Elder was also not truthful on his admissions application to the University of Utah since they require that students, who are applying to the Graduate School, explain any reasons for not completing a prior graduate program. The University of Utah clearly states that any false or misleading information on an application is grounds for dismissal; so if Mr. Elder was not honest about his expulsion then why would the university allow this unethical behavior to go unchecked. All of the other 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 one individual.
Given the fact that the University of Utah admissions office and the psychology department chair chose to ignore the severity of Mr. Elder’s misconduct, a number of administrators were notified by email in August/September regarding the details of this situation. The following is a list of those individuals:University Administration:
Mr. Michael Young
Office of the President
Mr. David Chapman
Mr. David Pershing
Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs
Mr. Randy Dryer
University of Utah-Board of Trustees
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 ofthese web sites determined that several of them were associatedwith 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 copy of documents discussed in the above letter can be downloaded at the links located on the bottom of this page.
The faculty members and administrators, who now have knowledge of this information, should be held responsible for taking the necessary steps to provide a safe environment for the students, children, and patients who will interact with Mr. Elder.
The parents of children who are currently attending the University of Utah must ask themselves why the university would choose to place the funding they get for this one student above the safety and well-being of hundreds of student. In the future Mr. Elder will be placed in a counseling position on campus and within the community to counsel other students and children, and based upon William Elder’s lack of remorse for his prior sexual misconduct there is a strong potential that this individual will repeat his prior bad acts. If a student or child is subjected to this individual’s misconduct, then why should their parents be placed in a position of wondering why it wasn’t prevented since the University of Utah had prior knowledge of this individual’s misconduct.
We must realize that as taxpayers and citizens of Utah our money goes to fund this university and we expect that our 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 our children.
We must also let the administrators and educational psychology department chair know that as parents we value the safety of our children and insist that they also value the safety of their students.
The following individuals can be contacted at the University of Utah to voice your concerns, ask questions about this situation, or find out what steps the university is taking to protect your children.
Mr. Michael Young
President-University of Utah
Mr. Trevor Long
Dean-College of Education/Psychology
Mr. David Chapman
In addition to voicing your concerns to university officials, please 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 individual, who has perpetrated serious unethical and sexual misconduct, the ability to counsel students, children, and patients within the university and the community.
Salt Lake County Representatives:
Utah State Representatives:
DOCUMENTS OF MR. ELDER’S UNETHICAL AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT THAT UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS DO NOT WANT YOU TO SEE
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 by Baylor University as evidence at Mr. Elder’s expulsion hearing.
The following link is a copy of a correspondence, written by Mr. Elder and sent through university computers, that provides better insight into this individual’s character.