Northwestern hires former US AG Loretta Lynch to investigate hazing allegations

ByJohn Garcia and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
NU hires former US AG to investigate hazing allegations
Northwestern University says it has hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate hazing allegations.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- All was quiet on campus at Northwestern on Tuesday afternoon, but university leaders are hard at work, trying to deal with the athletics department hazing scandal that has already resulted in the firing of then-coach Pat Fitzgerald and numerous former athletes filing lawsuits against the school.

That's why the school announced the hiring of former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review the school's athletic department.

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"I'm really relieved they hired someone at the top of her game, clearly a respected authority," said Northwestern Professor Elizabeth Shakman Hurd.

The granddaughter of a sharecropper, Lynch is Harvard-educated, as well as a former U.S. attorney in New York. She was named attorney general by President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, when she led investigations of alleged mistreatment of suspects by police departments in Baltimore and Chicago.

She recently represented the NFL in a discrimination lawsuit by the former coach of the Miami Dolphins. The university said Lynch will look at the culture of Northwestern athletics and potential misconduct, including hazing, bullying or discrimination. Steven Levin represents several former Northwestern athletes.

"To the extent they are looking at the entire athletic department, I think that's a very good idea," Levin said.

Northwestern President Michael Schill wrote in a statement. "I am determined that with the help of Attorney General Lynch, we will become a leader in combating the practice of hazing in intercollegiate athletics and a model for other universities."

While the university has refused publicize the report that initially uncovered the hazing scandal, the president promised to make the results of the latest study public.

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"I'm hoping this will set a very high bar, and Northwestern will not only restore its reputation, but actually set a new standard for other universities to look toward," Hurd said.

Northwestern Athletic Director Derrick Gragg said he also welcomes the review and hopes it will help identify and eradicate hazing and discrimination. The university said Lynch will start immediately.