Jan Gangelhoff is demanding immunity for testifying against the Gophers men’s basketball team. Giving her that immunity would be wrong. While her coming forward with information regarding academic misconduct is commendable, it does not exonerate her from the consequences of her actions. Both the cheater and the one who makes that cheating possible should be harshly judged.
Since the scandal broke, there have been innumerable articles written condemning Clem Haskins and the members of the team. However, very few have taken notice of Gangelhoff’s guilt. Certainly, the players — and Haskins, if he had knowledge of the situation — acted badly and should be punished. But they are not the only ones who deserve censure.
Gangelhoff is at least as guilty as the players. She, as their tutor, was in a position of power over them. She was an older person who was supposed to help them succeed in their classes. Instead, she took away their opportunity to succeed and helped them to evade the system. Additionally, she actually wrote the papers. It is not as if she were a student taking a test who simply did not complain when the players looked over her shoulder. Rather, she wrote entire papers that had no purpose other than to help the players cheat.
The justifications she has offered fall short of excusing her actions. She has claimed that she felt she was taking care of the players, saying, “I come from a family of caretakers.” However, not allowing someone to learn is not taking care of them: It is the opposite. Gangelhoff appears to realize this, as she has admitted that if her children were in a similar situation, she would not want them to cheat.
She has also said that she started writing the papers because it was easier than helping the players. Besides the fact that this makes little sense, the job of a tutor is to help a student, not to do the work for the student. If some of the players’ writing skills were really that abysmal, taking away a chance to improve their skills was truly a crime.
It was undeniably brave of Gangelhoff to come forward and expose the academic fraud corruption, but such bravery does not warrant immunity from punishment. She was just as much a participant in the corruption as anyone else. She should be denounced for her actions. To ignore her wrongdoing and only punish Mr. Haskins and the players would be wrong. If the allegations are true, current players who cheated will in all likelihood be kicked off the team, Mr. Haskins may lose his job and players who have already graduated will have their names dragged through the dirt. It would be unjust to allow Gangelhoff to be the only one who does not suffer consequences simply because she pointed her finger first.
Coming forward was the right decision, but if Gangelhoff demands immunity for her testimony, she will once again prove her willingness to cheat the system. She insulted the players’ intelligence and allowed them to take advantage of the University. Those actions should be punished.