Scandal shocks many faculty members, raises concerns about university

first_imgTo Robert Thompson, the weather in Syracuse over the past couple of days is appropriate given the situation hanging over the university. ‘The clouds are practically on the ground. I haven’t seen the sun for 48 hours. It’s almost like our meteorology reflects kind of the mood. Not only has this story descended upon the campus, it’s like it’s being reflected by the very weather itself,’ said Thompson, the founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. Former associate head men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine was fired Sunday following the release of a 2002 taped phone conversation between Fine’s wife and Bobby Davis, one of three people accusing Fine of sexual abuse. The allegations against Fine surfaced Nov. 17 and have grabbed national headlines ever since. Many faculty members were shocked to learn of the firing and were disturbed by the scandal. Some didn’t want to be interviewed by The Daily Orange because the situation is so close to home. ‘Syracuse only gets in the national headlines for two things: The fact that it snows here all the time and its basketball team,’ Thompson said. ‘And usually we expect that latter one to be for good reasons.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘You never want a story like this to be told about your university, whether you’re an alum or whether you’re a student or whether you’re a faculty,’ he continued. The story from ESPN is being told in strange steps, Thompson said. ESPN first broke allegations about Fine on Nov. 17 and released the phone conversation Sunday, but ESPN has had the tape since 2002. Thompson said he thought ESPN would’ve taken the allegations and the phone conversation to Boeheim and asked what he knew. They waited to release the phone conversation, something Thompson considers one of the mysteries in the case. After the allegations became public Nov. 17, Boeheim issued a statement giving Fine his full support. After the phone conversation became public, Boeheim said he thought the university took the ‘appropriate step’ in firing Fine. David Bennett, a history professor, said he believes the university had to fire Fine, but he doesn’t expect Boeheim to be fired given what is known right now. ‘There’s no reason to believe that coach Boeheim knew what was going on,’ Bennett said. ‘People often times don’t know what goes in the lives of people who are very close friends, as we all know.’ Bennett was involved in a 1990 investigation into alleged recruiting violations against the basketball program. Bennett said forums were held for people to raise any questions they had, and no concerns were raised concerning sexual abuse. ‘We interviewed large numbers of people, many of whom had some things to say about the basketball program, and there was not a word spoken about anything that was remotely connected to the pieces of evidence in the last two days,’ said Bennett, chairman of the Athletic Policy Board and the NCAA Faculty Representative from 1975 to 1995. Bennett said that although the scandal may not be the biggest event to hit the university, it is a national story that will affect people’s view of the university. Douglas Biklen, dean of the School of Education, said he isn’t worried about the ‘taint of this situation over the university.’ ‘I actually think that it’s very, very good that these sorts of cases get talked about a lot because it makes people very aware,’ he said. Biklen said stories like this that get national attention make it clear to people that they should call the authorities if they observe sexual abuse. ‘I think, for any of us, if we have information and we know it and we don’t deal with it, we’re responsible,’ he said. ‘We need to be held responsible, whoever we are — faculty, basketball coach, dean.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on November 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Jon: [email protected]last_img

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