Given CCSU’s history with diversity, anti-prejudice and any other instances dealing with the acceptance of students and those in the campus community, now is the time to be forthcoming.
With recent allegations against former cross country and track and field coach George Kawecki that claim he forced former CCSU athlete Charles Ngetich to drink blood in front of teammates, it is especially important that the university avoid making the situation worse. The lawsuit filed by Ngetich against the former coach could potentially uncover ugly details about the athletics department and ultimately the inner workings of the university.
Not much aside from the lawsuit itself reveals any information about the circumstances surrounding Ngetich, and statements, such as those made to The Recorder, indicate that that there is a concerted effort to bar certain university officials from speaking to the press. Even without avoiding news outlets, no substantial statement has been released from CCSU since the story broke on Thursday.
In terms of responding to the lawsuit, it is still early in the process. Though, seeing as the alleged events began over two years ago, and this is not the first time Ngetich’s story has been brought to the university’s attention, CCSU should have taken a more active role in disseminating information about the case.
Ngetich’s tale adds to an already unstable reputation with diversity and racism prevention here at CCSU. While we are aware that those who live in glass houses should not cast stones, this is undoubtedly the situation that calls for immediate action, not sweeping it further under the rug. Ensuring an accepting and open campus for students, especially, extends to openness of information.
Though unfortunate, Ngetich’s experiences are something the whole campus can learn from and encourage students undergoing similar treatment or abuse (or any kind) to speak up. Similarly, if the university holds involved and guilty parties responsible for Ngetich’s suffering, it would set a clear and harsh example for anyone in the CCSU community who believes they can take advantage of another person, regardless of the circumstances.
Even if on selfish terms to preserve reputation and cast a favorable light on itself, the university should have leapt at the opportunity to come clean when it had the chance since March. Surely, a student’s plea for help after describing abusive and racist behavior cannot go unnoticed through the hierarchy of the administration. The scenario may spell out public relations disaster, especially because employees of the university inevitably reflect upon CCSU as a whole, but it is not too late to soften the blow and save face.
And further, though the legal entanglements may prevent the university from dealing with Ngetich’s allegations on its own, CCSU should direct its attention towards addressing the cross country team, former coach and any other involved. Instead passing off responsibilities and awaiting the results, the administration should not remain mum.
Ngetich’s case is an unexpected test on the university’s ability to locate and mend diversity problems and until now, it has been handled poorly. This is now the opportunity to prove that it is flexible and dedicated to addressing diversity issues.