Responding to concerns

Responding to concerns


Dear University Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a story today about our University that focuses on issues arising from events last November relating to women’s athletic attire and gender equity in our Athletics program. I encourage you to read the story and draw your own conclusions. However, in the interest of clarity and context — and because there is additional information to share as our various inquiries progress — I offer the following:

During the past four months, we have been engaged in extensive outreach and fact-finding related to the numerous issues raised last November. I am grateful to all those who have come forward to share their concerns and their experiences, which for many have been painful. Swift action was taken at my direction to change the rule regarding practice attire for our female athletes. At my direction, an investigation was promptly initiated resulting from the initial allegations of gender inequity and discrimination. Such conduct will not be tolerated at our University.

As noted in the article, the Title IX investigation has now concluded. Besides reaching conclusions of fact, it has also resulted in confidential employment action. It has also triggered a related investigation into certain conduct, not the initial subject of the Title IX investigation, that is now being examined under the auspices of Human Resources with the assistance of an outside investigator. As a result of the subsequent investigation, additional action may be taken.

Also noted in the story is the ongoing program review being conducted by an independent consultant with significant expertise in collegiate athletics. Policies and procedures are being reviewed with the input of the Athletics Department. The investigation is anticipated to conclude in mid-April, and the review will be finished by June 30, 2019. We will share the outcomes and our action plan upon completion.

We were fully cooperative with The Chronicle's reporting, providing at its request more than 1,100 pages of documents (e.g., emails, manuals, financial reports). Many of those communications were personal in nature and reflected individual opinions, not those of the University. Providing those documents, required under law through the Open Public Records Act, does not mean the University endorses their content.

The University has demonstrated through our actions that we are committed to providing all members of our community an inclusive, supportive environment. We will continue to take steps to address discrimination in all of its forms. 

I thank the University community for its patience while we finish our investigation and the programmatic review. Should you have any questions, please email or call 856-256-4100.


Very truly yours,

Dr. Ali A. Houshmand