In the wake of sexual assault allegations against two BU hockey players in the space of 10 weeks, President Robert A. Brown has convened a special Task Force on Men’s Ice Hockey to assess the culture and climate of the hockey team and to recommend ways to ensure that they are wholly consistent with the values and mission of the University. The 16-member task force, cochaired by Jonathan Cole, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the BU Board of Trustees, and Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, will draw on the knowledge of recognized experts in a broad spectrum of fields.
“We have assembled a task force with deep expertise in issues that the group will address in its deliberations,” says Brown. “I am grateful to the members for their commitment to serve in this important capacity, and I look forward to their report.”
In a memorandum sent to task force members, Brown urged the investigators to reach out to faculty, staff, and students, including hockey players and other student-athletes, and to consult alumni and outside experts. The president said the assessment should compare the academic performance of hockey players to that of other students and student-athletes, examine the hockey players’ engagement in student life as it compares to others, and scrutinize the disciplinary history of the team compared to disciplinary practices in the larger student community. He asked that the task force report be submitted this summer so that necessary changes can be made early in the fall semester.
“We will take whatever steps are necessary to restore the community’s confidence in our men’s ice hockey program,” says Brown. “We will ensure that the standards we set for our student-athletes are consistent with our mission, core purposes, and aspirations, and that those standards are consistently applied.”
Morrison, who previously was the executive vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, where she chaired the provost’s Oversight Committee on Athletic Academic Affairs, says task force members were chosen for their expertise in specific issues.
“We want to make sure we assess and interpret the data we gather with substantive expertise,” says Morrison. “We looked for a diversity of knowledge and are fortunate to have experts among our faculty and staff.”
Morrison says the task force will look at all aspects of the team, including academic performance, student life, and leadership. She says the task force assessment is unrelated to either the University’s judicial efforts or the state criminal process to determine the guilt or innocence of the hockey players who have been charged. “This is not about the guilt or innocence of the individuals who have been charged,” she says. “This is an institutional effort to look broadly at potential issues with regard to the culture and climate of the ice hockey team.”
Cole, who is John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University at Columbia University, says he wants to “take a hard look at the data around academic, student life, and leadership issues to assess if there is a fundamental problem.” Cole is also provost emeritus and dean emeritus of faculties at Columbia.
“This is going to be a thorough and thoughtful assessment,” says Cole, a former fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and the author of The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected. “We want to gather input from students and faculty and alumni. We are eager to hear everyone’s opinion and concerns and we will seek input broadly. Our final report will be an assessment of all of the information we have gathered, with specific recommendations for how to make necessary changes.”
Other members of the task force:
- Amy Baltzell (SED’96,’99) is a School of Education clinical assistant professor of education; she coordinates the sport psychology specialization in the school’s counseling program. A former Olympic rower, she is the author of Living in the Sweet Spot: Preparing for Performance in Sport and Life.
- Sara Brown is a Sargent College clinical associate professor and director of programs in athletic training and chair of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Executive Committee for Education.
- William DeJong is a School of Public Health professor of community health sciences. He was director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention from 1995 to 2004.
- David Hollowell (ENG’69,’72, GSM’74) is a University overseer, a former president of the BU Alumni Council, and a former executive vice president and treasurer at the University of Delaware.
- Jeffrey Hutter is the Goldman School of Dental Medicine dean and Spencer N. Frankl Chair in Dental Medicine. He retired with the rank of captain from the U.S. Navy Dental Corps in 1996 after a 21-year career.
- Michael J. Lyons is a College of Arts & Sciences professor and chair of the psychology department.
- Elizabeth Mehren is a College of Communication professor of journalism and a former New England bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. She has written magazine stories about events ranging from presidential politics to the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. Mehren was a reporter and news editor at the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, and is the author of two books, After the Darkest Hour, the Sun Will Shine Again: A Parents’ Guide to Coping with the Loss of a Child and Born Too Soon.
- Carla Meyer (SSW’78) is a social worker, a BU trustee, and a former lecturer at the School of Social Work. She is a trustee of the Schooner Foundation, which supports organizations that focus on civil rights, peace, and security.
- Francine Montemurro is the ombudsperson at Boston University. Previously, she held a similar position at Binghamton University in upstate New York.
- Maureen O’Rourke is dean of the BU School of Law and a professor of law.
- C. A. Lance Piccolo (SED’62) is the chair of the Athletic Committee of the Board of Trustees and president and CEO of HealthPic Consultants, Inc., a private consulting company. He played football for Boston University.
- Kim Randall is director of equal opportunity at BU’s Office of Human Resources.
- Richard D. Reidy (SMG’82) is a BU trustee and former president and CEO of Progress Software Corporation.
- Emily F. Rothman is an SPH associate professor of community health sciences and a visiting scientist at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. She is an expert in intimate partner violence perpetration. Rothman worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health from 1997 to 2004 in the Bureau of Family and Community Health’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention.