Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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University president Michael Schill says he “may have erred” in determining Pat Fitzgerald sanction

Coach+in+black+shirt+paces+the+sideline.
Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman
Pat Fitzgerald. The football head coach was suspended for two weeks after an investigation into the team’s hazing practices.

Northwestern University President Michael Schill believes he may have “erred” in his decision to suspend NU football coach Pat Fitzgerald for two weeks, he wrote in an email to community members Saturday night.

Fitzgerald’s suspension came after an investigation into reports of hazing in NU’s football team concluded Friday. After receiving an anonymous complaint from a student-athlete in November 2022, the University hired an independent firm to conduct the investigation. 

The firm’s investigation concluded the anonymous player’s claims were “largely supported by evidence.” 

While the report did not determine that coaching staff knew about ongoing hazing activity, it found “there had been significant opportunities to discover and report the hazing conduct.”

Schill announced his decision to suspend Fitzgerald Friday, but released his updated message after former players came forward with details of the alleged hazing Saturday. Two former players alleged that Fitzgerald had knowledge of some of these instances and made signals in reference to the hazing during practice.

“Coach Fitzgerald is not only responsible for what happens within the program but also must take great care to uphold our institutional commitment to the student experience and our priority to ensure all students — undergraduate and graduate — can thrive,” Schill wrote in the statement. “Clearly, he failed to uphold that commitment, and I failed to sufficiently consider that failure in levying a sanction.

Schill plans to work with the NU Board of Trustees and the leadership of the Faculty Senate to determine a course of action, he said. He added he would keep the community updated while assessing future steps.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolejmarkus

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @avanidkalra  

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