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OSU student panel says Hicks must go

COLUMBUS - No one spoke in defense of Brian Hicks, as an Ohio State University student government committee unanimously approved a resolution calling for the governor's former chief of staff to resign from the school's board of trustees.

With a vote of 9-0, the best Mr. Hicks could muster was a single abstention from the 11-person Policy and Governance committee, whose chairman, Brennan Howell, was not needed to break a tie.

The nonbinding resolution, which will move to the undergraduate senate, further asks the state legislature to "consider filing articles of impeachment against Brian K. Hicks should he be unwilling to voluntarily resign."

As part of the fallout from Ohio's scandal-ridden $50 million rare coin investment with Republican fund-raiser Tom Noe, Mr. Hicks was convicted this summer of an ethics violation and fined $1,000.

He failed to properly report below-market-rate stays at Mr. Noe's Florida Keys home in 2002 and 2003.

"My legal counsel and I were convinced that because I paid rent for the use of the property, I would have been exonerated had this matter been taken to trial," Mr. Hicks wrote in a letter to The Daily Lantern, OSU's student newspaper, published on Sept. 30.

Mr. Hicks, once president of OSU's student body, pleaded "no contest," which doesn't require an admission of guilt.

Steve Miller, a member of the committee who designed the Web site, said that the letter stood in place of Mr. Hicks, who declined to attend the committee hearing in an e-mail sent yesterday afternoon.

Upon hearing the letter read aloud, Larry King, a second-year marketing and finance major from Texas, said he told the committee, "It tried to play us undergraduates like fools."

Nick Benson, president of the undergraduate student senate, wrote the resolution, which he said he also presented to OSU's faculty council.

"When you're a public official you have to be held to a higher standard of accountability," he said.

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