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Michael Schill: I Accept the Criticism Over Northwestern’s Hazing Scandal. We Can and Will Do Better.

By Northwestern University President Michael Schill:

Since the findings from an independent investigation of hazing in our football program at Northwestern University were announced on July 7, our student-athletes and our coaches have been thrust into the national spotlight and have come under intense criticism.

I understand and accept the criticism. The hazing that was documented in the investigation is entirely unacceptable, and I apologize on behalf of the university to those athletes and all others affected.

We also have seen allegations that some of the hazing activities targeted student-athletes based on their race. These are disturbing claims and completely antithetical to our educational and athletics mission. I want to be clear that Northwestern is and will always be committed to diversity and that every one of our students belongs here. Each of us — students, faculty, staff and leadership — must do our part to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

Stepping back to gauge the dialogue over the past few weeks, I am concerned that fingers of blame and accusation are now being pointed indiscriminately and too broadly.

The vast majority of our student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff members are people of integrity and decency. Our student-athletes are uniquely talented and able to excel both in the classroom and on the sports field.

Among the copious data that bears out their accomplishments is the fact that nine of our conference teams earned a perfect Academic Progress Rate score, per the latest NCAA report, a record that is unsurpassed in the Big Ten. Their achievements reflect the fact that Northwestern is in a very small group of universities that are simultaneously academically preeminent and exceptionally competitive in Division I athletics.

As our student-athletes return to campus this week to prepare for the season ahead and the new academic year, they deserve our support. I pledge the full resources of the university and my personal efforts to provide them with what they need and to ensure their well-being and safety.

Read the rest of the article in the Chicago Tribune.