Victims of sexual misconduct by a University of Maryland, Baltimore County swim coach will be entitled to $180,000 or $60,000 each as part of a settlement approved by the Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday.

The $4.1 million settlement is a result of a consent decree the university is entering with the U.S. Department of Justice following a blockbuster Title IX investigation. It requires a number of changes, including offering financial compensation to victims.

“As President of UMBC, I am deeply deeply sorry for what happened and I am committed to doing all that we can to make sure that it will never happen again,” said Valerie Sheares Ashby, who took office in 2022.

Under the agreement, athletes on the men’s swim team between 2015 and 2021 could receive $180,000 if the DOJ or university investigation found they experienced dating violence that staff knew about or sexual assault by former head coach Chad Cradock. The same goes for swimmers on the women’s team during certain academic years.

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Men’s and women’s team members who participated in an investigation could receive $60,000 if they faced sex-based discriminated by Cradock during certain time periods.

The board approved the settlement without allowing for public comment from victims’ counsel.

“I want to start by saying to the victims that we hear you, we see you and we believe you,” said Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman, who said she was also a survivor of sexual assault in college.

But Rignal Baldwin V, who represents six former swimmers in a federal lawsuit, questioned that sentiment, calling the victims’ compensation “outrageously low.”

“I don’t think the settlement amount comes close to reflecting the values she [Lierman] was talking about,” he said.

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He added that his law office submitted a request for public comment on behalf of the victims well before yesterday’s deadline and does not know why the board didn’t include the testimony in its agenda.

“They might’ve approved the settlement, but my clients did not,” Baldwin said.

If they accept settlement funds under the agreement, Baldwin’s clients would have to drop their suit, which seeks $75,000 in damages.

After a three-year investigation, the United States Department of Justice determined UMBC knew about allegations of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination by Cradock, a former head swim coach. Cradock died by suicide in March 2021.

The DOJ found that UMBC did not devote enough resources to comply with Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

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As a result, Cradock abused male swimmers and discriminated against female swimmers, the DOJ said.

Under the settlement with the DOJ, UMBC has agreed to an extensive list of measures to help prevent sexual harassment, assault and discrimination, particularly in the athletic department.

The University has to give the DOJ a list of all its displays of Cradock, like plaques and scoreboards, and a plan for either removing or keeping them by June 1.

It must also anonymously survey student athletes at the end of their seasons about the athletic culture, how they interacted with athletic department staff and teammates, and whether they experience, witnessed or heard about harassment or discrimination.

The college has until July 1 to create a behavioral expectations policy for coaching staff and to send it to the DOJ for review. The policy must detail coaches’ reporting obligations, prohibit relationships between coaches and players, and define boundaries when it comes to physical contact, among other requirements.

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UMBC athletic director Brian Barrio, who joined the university in 2020, the year the DOJ began its investigation, announced his departure Tuesday evening. The investigation probed a six-year period, from 2015 to 2020.

Barrio’s departure was not mentioned at the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, and Barrio was not named in the DOJ investigation.

“I am very proud of what we did together and will be rooting for you all! Thanks also to all the wonderful friends and colleagues who reached out today — I appreciate every word,” he wrote on the social media platform X.

Kacey Hammel, chief of staff to Sheares Ashby, did not answer questions about whether Barrio’s departure was related to the investigation, but she did say the agreement concludes the DOJ investigation.

“Many of these improvements are already under way, having been initiated since President Sheares Ashby came to UMBC in 2022,” she wrote in an email. “We are committed to meeting our obligations under this agreement and going well beyond them to ensure that all members of the UMBC community have a safe environment in which to learn, work, and grow.”

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