Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez released a statement Wednesday night in the wake of the allegations of sexual assault by former senior associate athletic director John Chadima on a male student.
The word "alcohol" is notably absent in his statement and while Alvarez acknowledges he knew about "similar gatherings" in the past, he claims he didn't know about this one. How convenient.
Here's the statement with my reaction following:
I am saddened by the allegations that have resulted in the resignation of John Chadima. John worked for the University of Wisconsin Department of Athletics for 22 years, many of them under my direct supervision. He was a trusted and valued employee and someone I relied upon. To my knowledge and, as the findings of the review team show, this was an isolated allegation. That being said, it represents highly inappropriate behavior and I am disappointed in John’s conduct.
I am pleased that the review team found that our athletic department staff acted appropriately and swiftly in reporting the allegation. We have stressed to our employees the importance of reporting any allegations or incidents that involve staff members or occur in our facilities and I am glad the proper action was taken. I also commend our staff for their continued support of the individual who brought this allegation forward.
This allegation occurred during a gathering of athletic department staff. I am aware that similar gatherings have taken place in the past; however, contrary to the findings of the incident review, neither Sean Frazier nor I was aware that this year’s event had taken place until hearing about this allegation. The gathering in question was John’s way to recognize many of our staff who work behind the scenes and are not invited to other bowl-related events. I did not know that some of our student employees were involved. That is unacceptable and our staff will be educated about the inappropriateness of such behavior.
Considering the alleged presence of alcohol purchased with donor money and underage students at the party (not "gathering"), I simply can't comprehend how Alvarez -- or whoever wrote it -- released a statement without addressing this secondary issue -- you know, the issue that directly involves Alvarez.
Also, I find it really hard to believe that he didn't know about this party when he admits he knew about previous ones. That's just my opinion. Take it or leave it.
The bigger issue here is that Alvarez admits to knowing about these parties and they weren't stopped. As a result, something really bad happened with Chadima allegedly sexually assaulting a student. What's more, Chadima is accused of abusing his power.
In Alvarez's case, he didn't use his power. He could have prevented these parties from happening and he didn't.
While this case is certainly less severe than what happened at Penn State, the root of the problem is still the same: People with power at universities are abusing it and others with even more power are turning their head when they see something wrong.
To his credit, Chadima admitted wrongdoing, acknowledged his problems and apologized.
Unfortunately, Alvarez did the opposite.