Former WSU student gov. president says school paid law firm to investigate him

WICHITA, Kan. Documents provided by Wichita State University show the university made two payments to a private law firm in Kansas City, totaling more than $33,000.

This happened about the same time former WSU Student Government Association President Joseph Shepard says he was under investigation for bullying.

Specifically, the documents show Wichita State paid more than $33,000 to the Kansas City law firm, Husch Blackwell earlier this year.

The university's general counsel confirmed to Eyewitness News they did hire the firm to conduct an investigation, but couldn't say why.

Shepard claims he was the reason for that investigation. Shepard says he first learned about the investigation by word of mouth last fall. Months later, he says, he learned the university hired a private firm.

"The complaint was by a student who was formerly in (the) student government association. She was part of the cabinet and her complaint was that I bullied her," Shepard says.

Shepard says he does not believe he ever bullied anyone.

Eyewitness News asked WSU's general counsel, David Moses, why the school hired an outside firm and whether the money was worth it.

Moses responded saying, "The university takes whatever steps necessary to ensure all matters are handled fairly, in an objective manner. The total amount spent was necessary and does not consist solely of investigation services."

Shepard says he received an email from a university official in March, stating the firm found "no evidence to support this conflict rose to the level of bullying as contemplated by the student code of conduct."

Shepard says he's speaking about the investigation now because he says he was recently contacted about it by Wichita State's student newspaper, The Sunflower.

He says he feels like he was bullied by the university and wants to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.