What happened?

The Department of Justice concluded that the leadership of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County did not live up to its obligations to uphold Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. A three-year investigation found the school failed to do its part in preventing or intervening in sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex discrimination by a former swimming and diving coach against students from 2015 to 2020.

Who are the victims?

Up to 79 student-athletes on the team at a time — swimmers and divers, men and women — were potentially subjected to invasive and inappropriate behavior by the coach.

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Who is the perpetrator?

Chad Cradock was the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams from 2001 until 2020. He died by suicide in 2021 at age 46.

He competed for UMBC as a swimmer and became an assistant coach after graduating in 1997. He was named head coach four years later. He was married and had three children.

What was the school’s response?

The university’s president, Valerie Sheares Ashby, who took over in 2022, after the violations occurred, accepted the findings and apologized publicly in an email to the university community. She also pledged accountability.

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What action is the school taking?

The school created a new role: vice president of institutional equity and civil rights. UMBC also changed the athletic department’s structure, governance and reporting mechanisms, according to Sheares Ashby, with the athletic director reporting straight to her.

What are the consequences for the school?

The university will sign a shared document with the DOJ that promises “critical changes” in the way the school responds to future allegations of sexual harassment and sex discrimination, Sheares Ashby said. The DOJ called the document a “settlement agreement.” The school essentially promised to do better, but was not explicitly punished in any way.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that UMBC had signed an agreement with the DOJ. That has not happened yet but is expected in the coming days.

Hugo Kugiya is a reporter for the Express Desk and has formerly reported for the Associated Press, Newsday, and the Seattle Times.

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