The Trib has a report of another lawsuit involving FB players, and ESPN has one involving a volleyball player.
Additional lawsuits aren’t surprising.
IMHO the most damning claim so far are reports of abuse in the women’s program.
That includes an alleged “rape” of one woman athlete by another, he said. That incident “went reported and, ultimately [was] not acted upon, followed by retaliation. Unbelievable stories. Not only as it relates to the acts but … reaction to it,” Salvi told the Sun-Times.
While the most recent suit by the volleyball player doesn’t include the claim of rape, that claim is now out there.
Unfortunately, we are only two years removed from the cheer team scandal which also involved hazing and sexual assault. At that time, the University’s internal investigation verified the claims of hazing and sexual assault. The University apologized to the victims, fired the AD, the cheerleading coach, and suspended the cheer team. It has also created a new task force to review the university’s policies and procedures on hazing, sexual assault, and racism. That was something that the faculty letter also referenced.
Morty replaced Mike Polisky with Northwestern’s faculty rep to the B1G and the NCAA, Robert Gundlach. Gragg replaced Gundlach July 1, 2021.
You could say that the University’s efforts to root out hazing under Gundlach and Gregg worked and all of the claims that are currently surfacing occured before Polisky got resigned in May, 2021. But Gragg just fired the baseball coach that he hired a year ago. AND the university had to start a whole new internal investigation six months ago.
So whatever steps the institution took as a result of the 2021 investigation clearly didn’t address the abuses uncovered by the most recent investigation.
That makes the legal case easy that Northwestern knew all along about the problems. The two internal investigations (2021 and 2023) will certainly be revealed in discovery (if the cases get that far). Then it will be fairly easy pickings for those lawyers. Either Northwestern chose to ignore the problems that were contained in the investigations OR the investigations themselves were flawed (ongoing complaints would have been a good indication of that) or Northwestern was irresponsible in implementing and monitoring whatever measures they put in place to prevent future hazing events from occurring.
It is ugly and can only get uglier.
BTW, the lawsuit filed by cheerleader Hayden Richardson is still ongoing.
BTW, got an email from Schill today.
Maybe in response to the blowback from his previous announcement.
This one is similarly unsatisfying.
The subject is Support for Northwestern Student-Athletes.
The basic assertion is that the media are treating Northwestern unfairly and that treatment is harming our student-athletes. The not too subtle subtext is that anyone who questions how the institution is handling this issue (including those who are filing legal actions), is also unfairly attacking the character and integrity of our student athletes.
He then spends most of the letter praising those kids to attend NU and also play sports with only the briefest mention of a few bad apples on the football team.
Were I one of those who experienced hazing, I would find this letter both patronizing and deeply offensive.
For everyone else, it is just tone deaf and another attempt to deflect attention from the real issue.
The REAL issue is that the university failed those same students that Schill both praised and promised to protect.
Those students who experienced hazing, racism, and sexual assault are happy that the media is finally telling their story - a story that Northwestern ignored.
Northwestern DESERVES the reputational damage it is suffering because it failed to act in an ethical and responsible manner stretching back at least three years to the cheerleader incident, and likely well beyond that.
Schill should start by apologizing to all the students who have experienced hazing, sexual abuse, and racism in the same way that Morty apologized to the cheerleaders.
Those NU kids of high character and integrity understand the difference between claiming those virtues and living them. They are also old enough to appreciate that living those values involves making the harder choice every day. It means taking responsibility for your own actions first before you make any attempt to blame anyone else. It means keeping your promises to yourself and others. It means telling the truth even when that truth may include decisions and actions you regret and even when nobody else is keeping their promises or telling the truth. It means brotherly love and doing your best to protect those who can’t protect themselves.
Just like all of the students that Schill praises, he has to demonstrate that he is a person of character and integrity too because he is currently leading an institution that is not living up to its values.
So far, IMHO, he is failing. That’s why I don’t think that he will survive. And I don’t think that Northwestern will make any progress toward resolving this issue until he is replaced with someone who understands that character and integrity are more than just words on a page.