Important Update on the Independent Investigation

Sept. 4, 2018

Dear Brandeisians,

The report on the investigation of our Department of Athletics commissioned last April and conducted by attorney Walter Prince and the Hon. R. Malcolm Graham has been completed.

Having received and evaluated the findings, I am sharing the 25-page summary of the report with the Brandeis community (PDF).

The Independent Investigation, which took several months, sets forth a series of conclusions based on more than 150 interviews with players, coaches, students, administrators, faculty, and alumni, as well as a review of more than 30,000 pages of documents. A second report that focuses on a broader examination of campus climate, including the Independent Investigators’ assessment of and recommendations for strengthening Brandeis’ internal policies and procedures, will be completed later this semester.

Today, on the basis of careful consideration of the extensive findings and conclusions contained in the report, I am announcing a series of actions designed to address the failings within our Department of Athletics and our Department of Human Resources. These measures address the concerns raised by the Independent Investigation, and will enhance administration policies throughout the university in order to protect the rights and well-being of all our students.

With regard to personnel, I have concluded that the judgment, actions, and inactions of these individuals, in their respective roles, as documented in the Independent Investigation, all came up short and failed the test of the leadership they were entrusted to perform. These changes are effective immediately:

Last April, coach Brian Meehan, who oversaw the men’s basketball program, was dismissed.

There will be new leadership in Athletics, Student Affairs, and Human Resources:

On the basis of the recommendations in the Summary Report from the Independent Investigators, we will begin the process of evaluating and then implementing these nine additional recommendations for procedural and policy reforms in the Athletics Department, under the guidance of interim athletic director Jeffrey Ward and Provost Lisa Lynch. From the report:

While the second part of the investigation report, which will be delivered later this fall, will provide strong guidance on ways to improve nondiscrimination and harassment policies and procedures, in our own examination of how to create a campus environment that embodies fairness and equity we have moved forward with and have already begun implementing the following reforms and initiatives:

Cultivation of a more inclusive campus also requires information that is readily accessible and understandable. In pursuit of this goal, we are instituting three major improvements to the university website:

I want to reiterate what I wrote to you last spring. I deeply apologize on behalf of the university to the students who brought the complaints forward, to any other students who may have been harmed and didn’t come forward, and to our entire community. We have a responsibility to provide everyone with a safe environment. We must and will do better. These issues strike at the heart and soul of what Brandeis represents, and we will work with integrity and great intentionality to make things right.

In higher education, there are times when the call for change rings urgently. This is one of those times. We are confident that we will ensure that all our students feel welcome within the culture at Brandeis. As the investigators noted, across the board “there is true and deep affection for Brandeis and open-mindedness about people’s motivations.”

With appreciation of what we are, and with awareness of what we can be, we will embrace this challenge with optimism. I am looking forward to working with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to ensure that Brandeis is distinguished not only for its academic excellence, but also for a campus culture that reflects and takes pride in the rich diversity of our society. For all of us who love Brandeis, this is our time to take the actions that will lead to meaningful change.

Let us begin.

Sincerely,

Ron Liebowitz
President