University of California-Berkeley athletic director Jim Knowlton, responding to common criticism that he and the university for decades have ignored or mishandled bullying allegations versus women’s swimming head mentor Teri McKeever, advised team mothers and fathers that he and university officers shared their worries in an e mail Friday.
The e-mail was sent versus the backdrop of mounting phone calls for the firing of McKeever as perfectly as Knowlton and Jennifer Simon-O’Neill, Cal’s senior affiliate Ad, McKeever’s longtime near mate, who until eventually lately was the direct supervisor of the women’s swimming plan.
Mom and dad of Cal swimmers are notably enraged by Knowlton’s physical appearance on a Tuesday movie call with them in which a number of mothers and fathers stated Knowlton didn’t seem to have an agenda for the connect with or a prolonged-phrase program for the plan and finished with the Advertisement shouting, “Go Bears!”
“Knowlton totally misread the area,” the father or mother of a present Cal swimmer reported.
Cal put McKeever on compensated administrative leave on May perhaps 25. McKeever, who grew up in Southern California and was a standout swimmer for USC, is a person of the most successful coaches in the sport. In 29 seasons at the university, McKeever has led Golden Bears swimmers to 4 NCAA team titles and 36 Olympic medals,
Cal’s decision to spot McKeever on go away came a day right after the publication of an investigative report that exposed at minimum six Cal women’s swimmers considering that 2018 had manufactured strategies to get rid of on their own or obsessed about suicide for months or months for the reason that of what they explain as McKeever’s bullying.
To date 34 existing or former Cal swimmers, 17 mom and dad, a previous member of the Goldens Bears’ men’s swimming and diving squad, two previous Cal coaches and two other athletic division staff have explained to SCNG how McKeever routinely bullied swimmers, frequently in deeply personalized conditions, or utilized embarrassing or traumatic encounters from their earlier against them, applied racial epithets, entire body shamed and pressured athletes to compete or prepare even though hurt or working with long-term sicknesses or taking in problems, even accusing some girls of lying about their problems despite getting supplied medical data by them.
The college has also commissioned a Los Angeles-based mostly regulation firm to conduct an investigation overseen by the school’s human methods workplace into the allegations.
Knowlton advised latest team mom and dad throughout the video clip get in touch with Tuesday the investigation could just take up to six months.
“The normal just take-absent from the assembly is the absence of urgency on a little something that need to have been taken care of a prolonged time back,” the father or mother of a recent Cal swimmer reported of the movie get in touch with.
A further guardian explained the information and motion “seems inconsistent with truly taking the ways that lead to finding to the truth of the matter, resolving this issue and relocating on as immediately as doable.
“The pace and pace does not provide a great deal of self-assurance to the parent group that (Cal) is keen to do a true investigation and get to the fact.”
In an apparent attempt at destruction management, Knowlton touched on the video clip get in touch with in Friday’s electronic mail to latest workforce parents.
“I hope it was handy and, dependent on feedback I have heard, I wanted to stick to up with a be aware to assure that I make clear places where by there could have been confusion,” Knowlton wrote.
Knowlton claimed the intent of the call was “to pay attention to your considerations help you realize the method we are now in the efforts we are earning to assistance your scholar-athletes and the approach shifting ahead.”
Knowlton was hired by Cal in May perhaps 2018 and on Tuesday acknowledged that some of the alleged bullying took location for the duration of his look at.
Present-day and previous Cal swimmers and their mom and dad have said Knowlton and Simon-O’Neill have both dismissed or failed to consider very seriously repeated problems about McKeever’s conduct.
4 Cal seniors on the 2021-22 roster not long ago fulfilled with Knowlton and Simon-O’Neill and alleged bullying and verbal and emotional abuse by McKeever, according to three men and women acquainted with the conference. Knowlton told the swimmers that McKeever was just a really hard, challenging coach who they would appreciate in the coming a long time, in accordance to the three persons.
“As a dad or mum of five graduated college scholar-athletes, I perception and share your issue concerning the perfectly-getting of your pupil-athletes, and your need to superior fully grasp our procedure,” Knowlton wrote in Friday’s e mail. “Hopefully this will clarify what Eugene Whitlock— the university’s Human Means lead— and I included all through the Zoom conference.
“First and foremost, I want to assure you that the well-remaining of our college student-athletes, in this circumstance your daughters, is our to start with priority. Performing Coach Jesse Moore is at the moment functioning the optional tactics at Cal and doing the job to accommodate follow time requests. We have Dr. Graig Chow, the Director of our Large Functionality and Effectively Getting method engaged with the crew, alongside with Gordon Bayne, who is now the lead Activity Supervisor, with the support of Josh Hummel. Each of these individuals is dedicated to undertaking all that they can so that the swimmers and divers here at Cal can prosper and prepare in a positive environment.
“As you know, we are in the midst of an ongoing investigation. As we explained on the call, owing to a lack of obtainable inner investigators, the university elected to use an outdoors investigator in order to protect against hold off. In response to allegations of misconduct, our university is generally dedicated to supporting investigations that are thorough, truthful, and proactive. Investigators get to out to people today involved and independently go after facts. The university is also certain to protect everyone’s ideal to due system and privacy, and as a result we will not be able to discuss the specifics of the investigation. What I can say is that the university has insurance policies and strategies that are designed to enable the college to reply effectively when there are allegations of misconduct that are inconsistent with our values, principles, and insurance policies. I have been assured by our Human Means business office that all those insurance policies and treatments are getting followed now, and will continue on to be in the long run.”