Northwestern’s hazing scandal and the limits on accountability

A fraternity found guilty of such behavior would be banned from campus — because fraternities don’t bring millions of dollars to the university’s treasury, like the football team.

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Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald stands on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Oct. 23, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Northwestern fired Fitzgerald on Monday amid a hazing scandal that called into question his leadership of the program and damaged the university’s reputation after it mishandled its response to the allegations.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald stands on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Oct. 23, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Northwestern fired Fitzgerald on Monday amid a hazing scandal that called into question his leadership of the program and damaged the university’s reputation after it mishandled its response to the allegations.

AP

If the descriptions of the alleged hazing at Northwestern University are true, then somebody needs to go to jail for criminal assault and for the cover-up.

The usual strategy in cases like this is to make a few high-profile, righteous firings and assurances of the highest morality so the trustees, deans, executives and other stakeholders can get back to their real educational jobs of fundraising. If a fraternity were found guilty of such behavior, the frat would be banned from campus, probably forever. That’s because fraternities don’t bring millions of dollars to the university’s treasury like the football team.

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Clark Kerr, who had the honor of having Gov. Ronald Reagan fire him as president of the University of California in 1967, once said that the college administrator’s job had come down to providing “sex for the students, sports for the alumni, and parking for the faculty.” He might have added that even these items are incidental to the larger purpose of a great university, which is to perpetuate the great institution itself above all other considerations.

If Northwestern finds this scandal doesn’t go away, they might wish to consider consulting U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has considerable experience in dealing with locker room life and its consequences. Jordan, a former assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, had been accused by former wrestlers of knowing about the team doctor’s sexual misconduct but not reporting it. He would be a fitting personality for the situation at Northwestern.

Ted Hild, Springfield

Trump isn’t fooling anyone

I agree with almost every word of the Sun-Times’ editorial this week concerning the need for a speedy trial of the disgraced former president and present Republican frontrunner.

But I had to laugh when it mentioned that Donald Trump said he wants the case to be resolved “very quickly.” He is an inveterate liar and not only does he not want a speedy trial, but his lawyers are actively working to prevent such a thing and the MAGA/federalist judge who he appointed has already granted an unnecessary delay.

Justice will catch up with Trump someday, but it will not be any time soon.

Michael Gorman, River North

City Hall can help theaters thrive

I want to thank the Sun-Times for the editorial reminding Mayor Brandon Johnson that City Hall has a history of coming to the aid of Chicago theater life. The dire financial state of the Lookingglass Theatre, a pillar of serious downtown entertainment, is a distinct indication that political commitment is vital.

William O’Neill, Near West Side

Theaters’ struggles mostly due to dying audience

The editorial about the problem of declining attendance at Chicago theaters presented the issue as though it was all about the pandemic, but in this area the pandemic has just accelerated a larger problem, which the editorial chose not to address. The major problem is that people who subscribe, attend, and donate to theaters are mostly very old, and their generations are passing away. Also, the major nonprofit theaters have for decades relied on a funding model focused on cultivating the rich, whose networks of charitable foundations make major contributions, but this model is ultimately a dead end.

Thomas Simpson, West Rogers Park

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