Athletics reviews must continue

Daily Editorial Board

As the new school year begins, the reputation of the University of Minnesota athletics department is questionable at best. Two top officials — former athletics director
Norwood Teague and executive associate athletics director Mike Ellis — have come under fire following reports that include alleged sexual harassment. 
 
Teague resigned after two women reported that he behaved inappropriately and sent them explicit text messages. Ellis took a voluntary leave of absence following five reports about him, but he is still employed by the University as these reports are being investigated. 
 
These recent incidents follow a 2014 federal investigation of sexual harassment within the University’s women’s gymnastics team and an investigation of the University’s commitment to Title IX that began in January. 
 
The frequency and severity of these sexual harassment scandals demonstrate that we shouldn’t treat them as isolated incidents. Rather, these events seem to be indicative of a harmful and derogatory culture within the athletics department that administrators are unable to curb.
 
We applaud the University’s effort in taking steps to hire independent, external legal counsel to examine allegations of sexual harassment within the athletics department. The school should continue this external oversight, refine the department’s hiring practices and modify its staff training procedures.
 
As its recent history demonstrates, the athletics department is unable to independently operate in a safe and inclusive manner. The University needs to learn from the past and vigilantly monitor the department as it works to get back on track.