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Response to Chancellor Dirk’s Letter concerning Intercollegiate Athletics

Below is the BFA response to Chancellor Dirk’s Letter.  You can sign the petition to withdraw the contract of Coach Harrington, pending further investigation and post comments here. Further documents can be found below the following letter.

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

Thank you for your response to our letter. While we are gratified that you are taking seriously the “win at any cost” culture of football coaching at Berkeley, we are disappointed that the new investigation you propose is confined “to assess[ing] the current state of the program and the efficacy of the many changes we have made in recent years,” thereby bypassing the question of coach Harrington’s culpability in Ted Agu’s death. If you claim that Harrington did nothing wrong, then why did the university pay out $4.75 million after admitting negligence in the civil suit brought by Agu’s parents? 

In the second (earlier) case, a UCPD investigation may have found insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the locker-room assault of Fabiano Hale, but we find no record of coach Harrington having been investigated for violations of his employment contract, which requires that “Coach’s conduct shall at all times be in a manner consistent with Coach’s position as an instructor of students.”

The question remains whether this bellicose coach, who appears to deploy homophobic and racist innuendo and to train people to death, should continue to be an employee of our university. We are not optimistic about your authorization of another investigation if you continue to regard the Tanji report as a reasonable model.  Not only did the two investigators appointed to the review have significant personal and professional ties to the staff of Intercollegiate Athletics; their report did not find any deficiencies in a training program that led to the death of one athlete and the serious injury of another.  All of the changes made to the training program, including greater medical review, were made only to settle the lawsuit filed by Ted Agu’s parents. 

What is required in these cases is serious independent review of faculty,  administrators, and staff who may have violated campus codes of conduct.   These violations should not have to await exposure through lawsuits by injured parties.

Thank you again for expressing an interest in hearing faculty concerns.  We believe we have adequately expressed the concerns of the BFA, but will encourage other faculty who wish to meet with you privately to take up your invitation.

Yours Sincerely, Michael Burawoy and Celeste Langan, Co-chairs of the Berkeley Faculty Association.  

Further documents:

Chancellor Dirks to Professors Burawoy and Langan (Reproduced in Full here)

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