Skip to comments.Yale QB's Rhodes bid was suspended (ESPN reports on prohibited NYT story)
Posted on 01/27/2012 4:25:48 AM PST by Scoutmaster
A Yale football player who said he withdrew from consideration for a Rhodes scholarship in order to prepare for his team's rivalry game against Harvard had in fact been informed his candidacy had been suspended, The New York Times reported.
The Rhodes Trust had suspended quarterback Patrick Witt's candidacy when it learned, outside of official channels, that a female student had accused Witt of sexual assault in September, the newspaper reported.
Witt had previously announced he had withdrawn his application because his interview for the prestigious scholarship was on the same day as Yale's game against Harvard, its ancient archrival.
Witt has not been charged with any crime and there is no criminal case pending against him, the Times reported.
The accuser did not go to the police, the newspaper said, adding that it has not spoken with the accuser and does not know the person's name.
Witt is no longer enrolled at Yale and has not graduated. He did not respond to messages left on his phone, email or Facebook account seeking comment, The Times reported.
Yale did not clarify Witt's enrollment status and refused to confirm or deny the existence of a complaint, according to the report.
University officials also declined to discuss why Yale did not officially alert the Rhodes Trust of the complaint, how it reacted to Witt's candidacy being suspended and whether it decided to again endorse Witt before he withdrew his candidacy, the Times reported.
(Excerpt) Read more at espn.go.com ...
The most complete story is the New York Times here: At Yale, the Collapse Of Patrick Witt's Rhodes Candidacy
Last November, the story carried by newspapers (perhaps with the aid of the Yale Sports Information Departments) was that senior Yale Bulldog Witt had been agonizing over a difficult decision: should he attend his final interview for a Rhodes Scholarship, or play quarterback against rival Harvard, whom Yale had failed to beat during his preceding three years.
At this point, I could link a story from the New York Times, ESPN, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, or any one of a hundred other sources to give background on the press release regarding Witt's 'decision' not to attend his interview but to play the mighty Harvard Crimson, but I'll choose the Huffington Post.
Why? because it features this delightful, 'would-you-like-to-eat-your-words-now tweet by David Gergen:
So, Witt lied and possibly had some help spreading these lies to the media. Certainly nobody from Yale was correcting them, perhaps claiming privacy issues.
Yale's football coach lied as well. A few days after Witt's 'withdrawal', the NYT reported that Tom Williams the Yale coach:
had invented parts of his résumé, including a supposed Rhodes candidacy that he had dropped two decades earlier in favor of a chance at a professional football career - an experience that he said gave him a unique ability to advise Witt on his tough choice.
Williams resigned in December.
And it's unclear whether Yale's President knew of the assault allegations when he signed Witt's Rhodes recommendation letter, or when a dean signed Witt's Rhodes recommendation report. It's also unclear why Witt is no longer in school (it's not uncommon for NCAA Division I senior football players to drop out of school after their senior season - but not so common in the Ivy League).
Regarding Witt's accuser:
The accusation against Witt, a history major who has expressed interest in a career in politics, came as Yale's handling of sexual harassment and assault is under intense scrutiny, including an investigation by the United States Department of Education. Last year, Yale overhauled its systems for handling such complaints and imposed a five-year ban on campus activities by a fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, whose members and pledges had engaged in highly publicized episodes of sexual harassment.
Witt was a member of that fraternity and lived in its off-campus house.
In September, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a female student went to Yale's Sexual Assault Harassment and Response and Education Center, claiming Witt had assaulted her in her dormitory room.
The woman later made a complaint to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, created last July as part of Yale's new approach.
Like many colleges and universities, Yale offers accusers a choice between making a formal complaint and an informal one. This student chose the informal process. In that process, an individual or a few members of the committee are charged with resolving the issue, without a full investigation or a finding of guilt or innocence. The most significant outcome might be an agreement to move the accused to a different dorm.
(With a formal complaint, there is a five-member hearing panel that hires an outsider to conduct an investigation and produce a written report recommending punishment up to expulsion.)
Connecticut law does not require colleges to report suspected sex offenses, and experts say the vast majority of campus sexual assaults are not reported, either to college authorities or to the police.
The Rhodes scholarship, perhaps the highest prize for young American scholars, finances postgraduate study at Oxford University for 32 students a year who, in the words of the Rhodes Trust, embody "excellence in qualities of mind and qualities of person."
Yale does not look at off-campus arrests when deciding whether to recommend a student for a Rhodes Scholarship. In Witt's case, Yale would have found an arrest for an altercation after Witt was denied entrance to a local nightclub, as well as a incident at the University of Nebraska, from which Witt transferred. There, Witt was arrested after snowing up at 1:50 a.m. at a residence hall that was not his own, drunk, signing in under a false name, and going upstairs without the required escort. He pushed and threatened a student police officer and ran from an adult police officer.
After the Rhodes Trust learned of the sexual assault accusations against Witt, it notified Yale and asked if Yale still wanted to back Witt for the Rhodes. Yale had not responded by the time Witt withdrew his nomination.
Note: Witt provided the first points in The Game, driving the Bulldogs to a 7-0 lead. He also provded the last points, throwing an interception that the Crimson returned for a TD as the last if their 45 unanswered points. Final: Harvard 45, Yale 7. At least it was a home game for the Bulldogs and their fans didn't have to listed to the "You Have to Go Back to New Haven" cheer.
good for him.......F’ing Yale and Harvaaard brats have have gotten us into the bulk of the financial mess we are in right now. Sounds like a great guy to have a beer with. Ought to hang with Clinton more
I guess the Rhodes committee has more going for it than the Yale University’s administration. This Witt guy is apparently—by Yale standards—eligible for the presidency. It’s a crying shame he is not 35. If he were, he could be Romney’s running mate on the Mitt-Witt ticket.
Its a good thing the media is going after the real important issues.
Bill Clinton was sent home from Oxford after his sexual assault of Eileen Wellstone - he didn't finish his degree nor his Rhodes Scholarship. The Rhodes Trust apparently has standards, which they applied here and to Clinton. The State Department got involved in hushing Clinton's Oxford escapade up (likely thanks to Arkansas Senator Senator J. William Fulbright, for whom Clinton had clerked).
There are certainly more important issues. Do you think they should be covered to the exclusion of everything else?
This likely wouldn't be news except that the story of Witt sacrificing his chance for a Rhodes Scholarship for his teammates was a national story. Yale's coach had to resign as a part of the story. Witt received praise from columnists for his self-sacrifice for his team (a lot of the new articles and columns used the trite "there is no 'i' in team" saying). He was interviewed on several TV shows about it. Others questioned why the Harvard-Yale game (known as The Game since, well, forever) or any collegiate athletics were that important.
Now it turns out the kid lied and the media bought it. And somebody with connections got the story out to the press. And Yale knew the story was false but did nothing. And Yale did nothing with the Rhodes Trust to alert them of the sexual assault allegation. Should that matter?
Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead.
And we find out that Yale doesn't care if its nominee have arrest records - if it happened off campus, Yale doesn't count it toward character.
I'm sorry you don't think the story's important enough for a newspaper to print. Is it that you think they should be investigating Obama (and on that point I agree), or that you just don't think articles like this belong in the public knowledge?
If the story was important, why didnt anyone investigate it before the game? Im sure Rhodes makes public who is up for the scholarship. But ESPN and other sources needed a good story, so they didnt investigate. And now they get to act sanctimonious about it.
Thanks...you’re right. I was being a little snarky. I remember all those old DFU threads...
I'm fascinated that you think they're acting sanctimonious. The kid lied. Yale either facilitated it by helping with his press release or sat idly by, knowing he was lying. Yale recommending a kid for a Rhodes Scholarship who, in my opinion, had clear character issues. When given a chance to withdraw a recommendation, Yale didn't do so. Yale never said anything publicly. The NYT story notes that they were the recipients of a tip from an administrator at Yale.
If this had been Bill Clinton's Rhodes nomination and a subsequent lie, we'd be all over this. And I doubt anybody on FR would accuse us or the papers of being sanctimonious.
Not trying to beat a dead horse, but there's been an update on this story. Ignore this if you're not interested.
Witt's denying it through his sports agent. The New York Times has released additional details indicating the candidacy was, indeed, suspended. A small part from the article:
Witt, who provided his version of events through his agent Friday, denied that he ever had been told his candidacy had been suspended. And he insisted he made his decision to play the annual game against Harvard, rather than pursue the scholarship, before the Rhodes Trust ever knew of the allegation.
A statement released by the sports management firm representing Witt, while acknowledging a sexual assault allegation had been made against the quarterback, noted that the university's inquiry "yielded no disciplinary measures, formal reports or referrals to higher authorities." [Note: From the first article, however, remember that she took the informal process, which never yields any of those.] Mark F. Magazu, II, Witt's agent, said Friday that Witt and the female student had a casual relationship, and that any contact between them was purely consensual.
The fact that no formal investigation of the allegation was done and no finding of guilt or innocence rendered was dictated by the fact that Witt's accuser had chosen to pursue what Yale calls an informal complaint process. Under that process, no independent investigators are appointed and both parties understand that the resolution of the allegation will not be part of the accused's formal record.
Magazu, in an interview Friday, insisted that Witt's Rhodes candidacy "was never suspended.""The only thing out of the ordinary is Rhodes saying, 'Let's have Yale re-refer him,' " said Magazu, president of Atlas Strategies, a communications and management firm. There was no indication, he said, that without a second endorsement, Witt could not proceed to the final interview.
Those with knowledge of the action taken by the Rhodes Trust said otherwise. They said Witt's candidacy was set aside pending a re-endorsement by Yale - otherwise, they say, there was no point in asking for it - and that Witt was told that explicitly.
. . .
Witt's agent said he was not sure whether Witt had disclosed to Rhodes officials his two arrests, neither of which led to a criminal record.
The NYT story has additional details indicating Witt's candidacy was suspended and that Witt didn't contact the Rhodes Trust with any story about electing to play in The Game instead of participating in his interview in Georgia. The ESPN.com coverage of this story specifically addressed one issue raised by a poster on this thread:
"Elliot Gerson, American secretary of the Vienna, Va.-based Rhodes Trust, said Friday that it also does not comment on the application process or individual applicants."