UMaine hockey player Shawn Mansoff said he plans to appeal last week’s one-year suspension levied by the university’s judicial affairs department for Mansoff’s alleged role in a racial slur/death threat telephone message directed at football player Dwayne Wilmot on Dec. 14.
Mansoff, junior left wing Matt Oliver and junior goalie Bryan Masotta were charged with criminal threatening and will appear in 3rd District Court in Bangor on Jan. 16. In addition, Attorney General Andrew Ketterer filed a Maine Civic Rights Act complaint against Masotta.
Mansoff has denied involvement in the incident and Dan Pileggi, Oliver’s lawyer, said his client also denies involvement.
Pileggi and an Oliver family spokesman would not confirm or deny if Oliver had received a one-year suspension and Masotta could not be reached for comment.
Masotta has admitted that he left the message on Wilmot’s answering machine and has asked for forgiveness. UMaine police officers allege thecallers in the background are Mansoff and Oliver.
The attorney general alleges that Masotta left a voice message filled with expressions of racial hatred and promises to kill Wilmot because he is black.
All three hockey players were suspended indefinitely from the team by UMaine hockey coach Shawn Walsh after the incident. Walsh said he has no comment on the latest development.
Bill Kennedy, the director of Maine’s judicial affairs department, and other university officials said they couldn’t comment on the suspension because the students are protected under the Buckley Amendment, which protects the privacy of students.
“I was in my apartment when the call was made,” Mansoff said from his family’s home in Edmonton. “I was kind of surprised to receive the letter [from Kennedy] but I guess they had to take some kind of action.”
Pileggi said Oliver told him he wasn’t there, either.
Mansoff said he doesn’t know how he got charged for the criminal threatening.
According to university spokesmen John Diamond and Joe Carr, any student suspended by Kennedy has the right to appeal his or her suspension to the conduct committee.
“That committee is comprised of three to seven members,” said Diamond, who added that the members are chosen from among students, faculty and university staff.
If the conduct committee doesn’t overturn Kennedy’s recommendation, the student can then appeal to UMaine President Peter Hoff or his designate, according to Diamond.
Diamond said the university tries to expedite all appeals.
“We try to deal with the matter as quickly as possible for everybody’s sake,” said Diamond.
Mansoff’s lawyer, Joe Ferris, said he intends to try to get Mansoff reinstated as quickly as possible.
The players can return to school if they appeal Kennedy’s decision but Mansoff said he won’t return until it is time for his appeal to be heard.