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Hoch won’t return to WSU provost post

Hoch (Courtesy Wsu / The Spokesman-Review)
Hoch (Courtesy Wsu / The Spokesman-Review)

Steven L. Hoch, who served as Washington State University provost from Aug. 1 to Sept. 23 when he took personal leave, will not be returning to his position.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd said in a statement to faculty that he does not believe Hoch can be successful as provost at WSU.

“I have concluded that having him return to WSU as provost and executive vice president is not in our collective best interest,” Floyd’s statement said. His decision was made after conversations with most of the WSU deans and other key officials.

University officials will not comment on why Hoch took personal leave so soon after his appointment.

Hoch has a tenured position with WSU as a professor in the history department, a position he’ll return to on Nov. 1.

Warwick Bayly, the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, has been the acting provost during Hoch’s leave. Bayly has agreed to serve as provost for at least two years.

“He knows the university well,” Floyd said about Bayly. “I am very confident that he will oversee a seamless transition and provide stability and strength in his new post as the academic leader at WSU.”

Pia Hallenberg Christensen


Saner linked to more pharmacy robberies

Edward Saner now has been linked to three of 10 Rite Aid pharmacy robberies. His bail was reset to $500,000, authorities said Friday.

The 23-year-old college student was arrested Oct. 4 at the Rite Aid at 45th Avenue and Regal Street. Police say Saner handed a clerk a note claiming to have a gun and demanding OxyContin. Police watching the store arrested Saner as he walked out with a bottle of about 100 of the painkillers.

At the time, authorities said he could possibly be tied to more than six pharmacy robberies in Spokane, Spokane County and Kootenai County.

So far, police say they’ve confirmed Saner is responsible for two additional robberies – both at a Rite Aid in the 5500 block of North Division Street. Spokane police have taken over the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office cases, officials said. Detectives continue to investigate.

During a court appearance Wednesday, Saner’s parents asked the court to keep their son’s bail at $15,000 so they could take him home to Western Washington to attend drug rehab. Saner’s bail was increased because of recent criminal history, including a negligent driving charge that was reduced from a drunken driving charge, two other charges on driving while impaired and a probation violation.

Jody Lawrence-Turner