Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Report alleges UW official's misconduct
By Adam Rittenberg
Wisconsin officials on Tuesday night released an independent report that outlines allegations that led to the recent resignation of senior associate athletic director John Chadima.
In the report, a Wisconsin student working for the football program alleges that during the team's recent Rose Bowl trip to California, Chadima put his hands down the student's pants at the end of a party in Chadima's Los Angeles hotel room. The report, which can be read here, says that Chadima and the student, identified as John Doe, were alone at the end of the party, which took place the night of Dec. 30 and reportedly had student employees under the age of 21 who had access to alcohol.
From the report:
Chadima told John Doe that he thought that Doe might be gay, and that some of the other student employees thought he was gay. Doe told us he felt very uncomfortable and defensive and but was not sure what was going on. He said Chadima reached over and removed Doe's pants belt and inserted his hands inside Doe's pants on his genitals. Doe reported that he was shocked and frightened and slapped Chadima's hand away and swore at him. He reported that Chadima said, "I thought you liked it" and "What are you going to do about it?" and "I could have you fired." Doe quickly left the room. As he was leaving the room, Doe reported that Chadima seemed to want to gloss over the incident as "just joking around."
Chadima was placed on administrative leave Jan. 6 and resigned the same day. He initially called the incident a "lapse in judgment" and issued another statement Tuesday through his attorney that reads in part, "I make no excuses and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life. ... I will take full responsibility for my lack of judgment and actions that evening."
The student employee reported the incident to Chadima's supervisor the same night, as well as to several fellow student employees. The incident also was relayed to a university police lieutenant who had traveled with the team to Los Angeles.
The student employee showed tremendous courage by coming forward. The other student employees who verified the account also deserve credit for speaking up against someone whose alleged actions took them by surprise.
According to the report, Wisconsin officials also acted promptly and supported the student employee during the process, which included getting the dean of students involved. The student employee decided not to pursue action against Chadima until after the Rose Bowl game.
The investigation also looked at Chadima's computer and cell phone records. Investigators found several text messages Chadima sent to a different student employee the night before the party that demanded the student come to Chadima's hotel room and threatened to fire the student if he didn't comply. The student employee didn't speak with investigators.
The investigators weren't able to arrange an interview with head football coach Bret Bielema, and three student employees declined to be interviewed.
Athletic director Barry Alvarez told investigators that he was aware of the parties Chadima held for football support staff at bowl games, but Alvarez didn't attend them. Alvarez said while he doesn't recommend that athletic department staffers drink with students, there are no specific guidelines about the use of alcohol at such events.
You can better believe there will be some guidelines after this.
Wisconsin's overall response to the situation seems appropriate and effective. Looking through the appendixes in the report, it's clear the Penn State sex-abuse scandal heightened awareness at Wisconsin about how to approach any potential incidents. I hope other schools take notice and act the same way if similar issues arise.
Still, it's appalling to see the allegations against Chadima, especially in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky situation -- the line about "just joking around" made my skin crawl.