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Gates at the entrance of California University of PennsylvaniaGates at the entrance of California University of Pennsylvania

A MESSAGE FROM INTERIM PRESIDENT JONES

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Posted on February 3, 2015

To: All faculty, staff and students
From: Interim University President Geraldine M. Jones

After a series of off-campus incidents involving members of the football team, California University of Pennsylvania contracted with The Compliance Group (TCG) to conduct an independent review of the football program.

That review has been completed, and TCG’s report is available here

About the report

“TCG appreciated the opportunity to assist Cal U and the Office of Chief Counsel,” stated Chuck Smrt, president of The Compliance Group.

“Our role was to undertake an assessment of the culture of the football program in order to provide recommendations that further enhance the integration of the institution’s values into the football program. TCG interviewed approximately 66 individuals and gathered other various information. No restrictions were placed upon TCG by the institution.”

After completing its assessment, TCG prepared a written report that includes recommendations in six areas:

  • Program supervision and oversight
  • Recruiting
  • The football program and the campus community
  • The football program and California Borough
  • Support for student-athletes in the football program
  • Policies and procedures

University administrators are meeting today to review the report and its recommendations.

From President Jones

Interim University President Geraldine M. Jones has issued this statement:

“Athletics are an important part of the college experience at California University of Pennsylvania. Intercollegiate sports can help to create a dynamic campus atmosphere, strengthen ties with alumni, and offer access to higher education.

“But in order to provide these benefits, every one of our athletics programs must live up to the University’s stated ideals and its core values of integrity, civility and responsibility. Recent incidents led me, and many others, to question whether this was the case.

“As the individual ultimately responsible for the operations of Cal U’s intercollegiate athletics program, I will not tolerate behavior that is unworthy of our institution. I will not permit the actions of a few to tarnish the reputation of this University and its students. I expect our student-athletes to fulfill their obligations as members of a living-learning community that is focused on student success, both in academics and in life.

“Last fall The Compliance Group was commissioned to conduct a review of our football program and to recommend specific changes in order to assure that our football program aligns with California University’s core values. TCG’s report includes 32 specific recommendations. I will consider each of them carefully, in consultation with the University’s leadership team and our Athletics Department, where appropriate.

“Some recommendations will be implemented immediately:

  1. As interim President, I take seriously the recommendation that I become more directly involved with our student-athletes. Moving forward, I will meet with each of our intercollegiate sports teams, face to face, to emphasize the University’s expectations. I am convinced that intercollegiate athletics should be a gateway to academic and personal achievement. I want our student-athletes and our coaching staff to know without a doubt that I am fully invested in leading our Athletics Department toward this higher purpose.

    I also will place a high priority on reviewing the University’s drug-testing policies. Additionally, I will appoint a panel to evaluate potential two- and four-year transfers and other football prospects. The decision about whether to give a “high-risk” student an athletic opportunity should not lie with the coaching staff or the Athletics Department alone.
  2. Today I have directed Athletic Director Dr. Karen Hjerpe to instruct our head coaches in all NCAA athletics programs to develop guidelines that clearly outline expectations for their players, as well as consequences for failure to abide by University, Athletics Department and team rules. Once the guidelines have been reviewed and approved, this information will be communicated to every member of each team.
  3. I also have asked Dr. Hjerpe to develop language that can be inserted into the Student-Athlete Handbook emphasizing that student-athletes are responsible for reporting instances of arrests (other than traffic citations) that occur outside the local community. The importance of this obligation will be conveyed to all student-athletes, who should understand that serious penalties, up to and including suspension from the team, will be imposed for failure to self-report.
  4. I will continue meeting regularly with community leaders, a practice I began shortly after being named to my current role. And I will explore with them the opportunity to expand those meetings to include representatives of law enforcement and athletics.

“I thank The Compliance Group for its diligence in compiling this report and providing our University with an objective perspective on these important issues. We cannot resolve every concern overnight, but let me assure you that the work of improving our football program has already begun.

“As we move forward in this effort, I will keep our faculty, staff and students informed of our progress.”

Interim President Jones' signature.

Links

Read The Compliance Group’s report

Read Attachment A

Read Attachment B

Read Attachment C