Statement from President Franco Vaccarino to the U of G Community

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Like many of you, I was deeply troubled and affected by the contents of a Globe and Mail article published Saturday that reported details of unacceptable behaviour from former track and field coach Dave Scott-Thomas toward past student-athletes, particularly Megan Brown.

As a university president, as a teacher, and as a father, I was upset and dismayed by what I read.

The behaviour reported in the article involved violations of trust, of coaching standards and protocols, and of the Gryphon values we hold so highly, especially those of ensuring student safety, health and well-being.

Many of the details reported in the Globe story were unknown to me and the current University administration until now. When we did receive new information in December about Scott-Thomas’s past actions, we took action immediately and terminated him from his position.

However, his termination from U of G does not – and cannot – make up for the fact that people experienced hardships and suffering. For this, I am truly sorry. I extend a personal apology to any current or former student-athletes who experienced inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour.

I commend those who came forward for their strength and courage.

I want to assure everyone that the University of Guelph will not tolerate conduct or behaviour that is inconsistent with our core values and beliefs and our University’s Coaches Code of Conduct.

We continue to enhance and expand improvements made in recent years: coaching codes of conduct; increased wellness and student counselling; and new athletic roles that reflect an improved and changing culture. We recently engaged McLaren Global Sport Solutions, an internationally recognized sport consulting firm, to do a thorough external review of University policies, practices and procedures.

We will work through this challenging time as a University community, supporting and strengthening one another.