Former assistant coach implicated in case of sexual misconduct with former student athlete
On Thursday Sept. 10 at 4:29 p.m., administration sent out an email to students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, providing a statement regarding alleged sexual misconduct between a former student and a former assistant coach.
The statement detailed how the University received information of the alleged misconduct and that the administration was currently handling the matter.
The administration reports that an anonymous letter was sent to them, which laid out information claiming a former assistant coach had been in a relationship with a former student.
The administration said in their statement that the parties named in the letter maintained the relationship was consensual and did not affect any scholarship opportunities.
Administration told The Pacifican that the email was sent out to inform all students directly, as they had received word that media outlets, namely CBS Sports, had inquired about the incident and were going to report on it. A spokeswoman for the University said that administration felt it would be better to preemptively notify students of this incident instead of having students learn of the incident from the news.
When asked how outlets such as CBS were able to receive word of this incident, a campus spokeswoman answered that another anonymous letter was sent to CBS, presumably detailing similar accusations as the one sent to the school, and that The Stockton Record, the local newspaper, received an anonymous phone call also alleging misconduct.
As stated in the administration’s statement , the University launched an investigation when the letter was received.
A spokeswoman, as well as Stacy McAfee, the interim associate vice president for communications , stated that an investigator was hired that Friday, Sept. 11, retained during the weekend and started her investigation on Tuesday morning, Sept. 15. The investigation is ongoing.
There have been conflicting reports regarding the nature of the misconduct. Administration reported that the parties named in the letter maintained the relationship had been consensual and had not affected any scholarships.
However, CBS Sports reported that an anonymous letter writer claimed “[the former assistant coach] acted inappropriately — even threatening to try to have the student-athlete’s scholarship removed if she rejected his advances.” Under University policy , relationships between staff and students are highly discouraged, not necessarily banned.
The spokeswoman stated the University is “committed to reviewing any practices that the findings of the investigation may highlight.”
This raises the question of how the policy regarding faculty/staff-student relations is handled. The associate vice president stated that faculty and staff are notified of the policy in their handbooks and covered at orientation, similar to how students are given the Tiger Lore handbook during freshman orientation.
The policy is also posted on University of the Pacific’s website. The spokeswoman did notify The Pacifican that “We’re building an internal policy website now that will make it easier for people when they’re looking for one.”
When asked how many cases of faculty/staff and student relationships or sexual misconduct have occurred, administration told The Pacifican that the University does not keep track of cases of alleged relationships, as long as the relationship is consensual.
In the case of consensual relationships, “the first step is for the individual or individuals to come forward and report the relationship to a supervisor. The matter would then be handled in line with policy.”
The University states that a different procedure is used for sexual misconduct. “Public Safety would be involved, and likely the Stockton police.” All cases of reported sexual assault and misconduct are published in the Annual Safety and Security Reports, available online.
The administration’s web statement stressed that they seek to keep the identities of both the former student and former staff member confidential for privacy reasons.
Associate Vice President McAfee and the spokeswoman both echoed this statement. Enforcing that, The Pacifican was not provided information regarding the identities of parties involved, or the current employment situation of the former assistant coach.
CBS reported on who the former assistant coach was, but The Pacifican will not publish his name or current employment out of respect for the privacy of the parties involved and the wishes of administration.
Associate Vice President McAfee stated that the University chose not to publish the contents of the letter and the identity of the parties involved because “We want to make sure that we balance the privacy issues of anyone who may have been not only named in the letter, but also involved, so that people know that this is a safe reporting place, should they have concerns. And that their privacy, to the extent possible, is always respected.”
Associate Vice President McAfee, in closing, emphasized to The Pacifican that she wants “to assure the readers that the University took any allegations, particularly this anonymous letter, seriously, and we acted swiftly.
We moved to action very quickly with the engagement of an outside investigator. Our hope was to thoroughly examine any concerns that were raised in the letter… At the conclusion of what we hope will be a thorough review of any and all concerns, the University is committed to taking action. And we will do it quickly, and we will do it appropriately with the amount of transparency that is possible.”