Many thanks to BWH46 for the earlier post. Your comments motivated me to expand on your thoughts and make additional suggestions on what we need to do at our university to right the ship.
As an NU Alum who witnessed as a student the 34 consecutive losses faced by Northwestern Football (which remains the longest losing streak in Division 1 (FBS) Football history), I understood the frustration and the pain that the football players, coaches, and staff faced from 1979 to 1982. Dennis Green, the Northwestern Head Coach (who later took over the Head Coaching job with the Minnesota Vikings), the entire NU football team, and the exceptional running back Ricky Edwards changed the projectile of the football program and righted the ship. Mr. Edwards that day ran for 177 yards on 29 carries, and the streak ended by a score of 31 to 6 over Northern Illinois. One of the two goalposts went into Lake Michigan (which is where the term Lake the Posts came from), and the losing streak ended!
I remember when Pat Fitzgerald was the star defensive player at Northwestern. It broke my heart when he could not play in the Rose Bowl because he broke his leg in the Iowa game. The man bleeds purple and white and is loyal to the University and its mission.
Pat Fitzgerald is one of the most honorable men you can find in college football. The alleged charges make no sense to me based on his work as a player, a coach, and a Head Coach at Northwestern. Each team member has Fitz’s cell phone – all you would need to do is call him, and I am sure he would have quickly resolved the issue.
I emailed the current Northwestern University President, Mr. Michael Schill, three times. I advised him that he was mishandling this situation and that if the University’s hired Attorney could not definitively prove that Fitz was knowledgeable about this issue, why would you use the Daily Northwestern as the source of all truth regarding this challenge? Why would you not use the findings of your Attorney to determine an appropriate course of action? I am sure this Attorney would be of the highest quality, or this University would not have hired her. Mr. Schill never provided the courtesy of a response to any of my emails or phone calls.
Why hasn’t the NU Administration answered any questions from the Press? Why hasn’t the Administration shown any concern concerning the numerous inquiries by alumni concerning the handling of this matter? Why hasn’t the Administration shown the Alumni the courtesy of showing us why he made the decision he did? Why did the Outside Attorney, who spent six months reviewing the situation, state that she could not prove that Coach Fitz was aware of the problem? Why did President Schill reverse his earlier suspension of Coach Fitz and unceremoniously fired the greatest (and winningest) coach in Northwestern football history?
The only way this situation can be corrected is when all NU alumni decide not to give this University any more money. This Administration is only concerned about money (beyond worrying that they are not being "responsive" enough when allegations are brought against anyone in our current mob-honoring environment). This Administration does not care about doing what is right –it only cares about what it needs to do to keep their jobs amid today’s mob rule mentality. We will only get the interest of this Administration when we hurt them through their pocketbook. Only when we cut off our financial gifts can we show them our level of anger and disgust.
This type of "leadership" shows to anyone at the University that they can be taken down by anyone, at any time, for doing anything that the President is uncomfortable with. No one in this Administration dares to assess any situation accurately – it is easier to follow the mob than to follow the truth.
Leadership requires strength, vision, and a great sense of grit. Mr. Schill has neither the intestinal fortitude nor the understanding of what makes Northwestern a great University. I have zero confidence in the leadership provided by Mr. Schill.
When you are ignored, this Administration actively shows that it does not care nor value its Alumni. It is sad to recognize this feeling, having obtained both my BA and my MBA at Northwestern.
Finally, I have not given up hope that Coach Fitz will again be on the sidelines for the Wildcats. The man has turned down great offers from the University of Michigan, the Chicago Bears, and the Green Bay Packers because, as he put it – I am a Wildcat. Hope is essential to a great life, and I believe Fitz will be back on the Dyche stadium sidelines so long as there are significant changes within the NU Administration.
I am truly saddened by what has happened to Pat Fitzgerald. This man is the epitome of honor and ethics. How he was treated will become part of the history of Northwestern football and will be viewed as a shameful moment at this University.
I am also genuinely saddened by what each player has dealt with over the past few months. I am amazed by their ability to perform under such pressures and adapt to losing their Head Coach. Each player has shown extraordinary courage, exceptional self-belief, and trust in their teammates. Each Northwestern fan appreciates that you did not run but chose to stay and honor your commitment to this University!
Finally, let us return to this University's motto – Quaecumque Sunt Vera. This Latin phrase was adopted as our official motto in 1890. It comes from Philippians 4:8, and states,
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on those things".
What has happened to Pat Fitzgerald and our Football team strikes me as not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and not of good repute.
We need to push through changes throughout the senior leadership of this University so that we can again follow the Motto that was established at our university.
We need to not focus on lies but focus on the truth!
As an "inappropriate, offensive and tone-deaf" alum (according to Mr. Derrick Gragg, the Northwestern Athletic Director), I purchased (and proudly wore and will continue to wear) the Cats Against the World with Number 51 (Fitzgerald’s Jersey Number).
Replacement of both the University President and the Athletic Director must occur to eliminate the consistent choice of wrong decisions that continue to impact our university's operations and reputation. Under Mr. Schill's leadership, our University has over 17 lawsuits filed by student athletes in a number of athletic programs both in and out of football. Mr. Schill has unnecessarily opened our University to multiple lawsuits impacting not only University officers but also University Trustees. This is the culmination of extremely poor management of this situation by the most senior leader of this University.
If you agree with these thoughts, email the Northwestern University President at email@example.com and share your comments with Mr. Schill. If you agree with how this situation has been handled, let Mr. Schill know you thoughts. We must open the lines of communication if we wish to be heard! A vacuum of silence simply allows Mr. Schill to believe that he can act with total impunity and that you don't care about Northwestern University.
In my opinion, our silence equals our agreement with their actions and behavior.
If you truly care about our University, you can not remain silent when faced with an Administration committed to incompetence and injustice.
Take action now ... open the discussion and show the senior leadership that we truly care about our University!
Consider holding off on future financial contributions to Northwestern until the Administration learns to listen and to value the Alumni of this University.
Best of skill for our Football team as it takes on UTEP today and ...