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Northwestern University announces further action to address hazing

Independent review of University’s processes and athletics department culture to be conducted by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch; results will be made public

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University today announced that it has engaged former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch from the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to lead an independent review of the processes and accountability mechanisms in place at the University to detect, report and respond to potential misconduct in its athletics programs, including hazing, bullying and discrimination of any kind.

As part of her review, Lynch will examine the culture of Northwestern Athletics to ensure it is consistent with the University’s mission and values as a leading academic institution. Lynch will conduct this review with feedback from and engagement with faculty, staff, students and alumni. The results of her review will be made public.

“Hazing has absolutely no place at Northwestern. Period,” said Northwestern President Michael Schill. “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. We will provide all of our students with the resources and support they need and do whatever is necessary to protect their safety and ensure that our athletics program remains one we can all be proud of.”

Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Derrick Gragg added, “The Athletics Department welcomes this review as a critical tool in identifying the additional steps Northwestern can take to eradicate hazing. By making the results of her review public, we hope our entire community will be better informed and guided as we all work to address this critical issue in college athletics.”

Lynch’s review is part of a series of immediate actions the University has taken in response to the findings from the independent investigation of allegations of hazing in the football program, which were announced July 7. Those actions include:

  • Monitoring of the football locker room.
  • In-person anti-hazing training led by outside experts for all University sports teams, coaches and staff. The first session begins Aug. 3 for the football team — its first day of fall practice — with training for other teams to follow.
  • Enhancement of the University’s existing reporting resources with the development of an online tool for reporting complaints of hazing, bullying and other misconduct.

Lynch will begin her review immediately and will provide updates to both President Schill and the Board of Trustees’ Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee. At the conclusion of her review, Lynch will make her results public.

“Northwestern’s Board of Trustees fully supports President Schill’s decision to conduct this critical review and to engage Ms. Lynch to lead it. The board will cooperate fully with Ms. Lynch and her team and facilitate her work as needed,” said Peter Barris, Chairman of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees.

About Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch served as U.S. Attorney General from 2015 to 2017. Her distinguished career in government spanned service in senior roles under two presidents, including three Senate-confirmed roles. Since returning to private practice as chair of her firm’s Civil Rights and Racial Equity Audits practice, Lynch has led numerous sensitive investigations for corporations and non-profit organizations. She also continues to lend her expertise to public service endeavors as an advisor. More information about Lynch can be viewed here: