University of Maryland Baltimore County Settles Sexual Assault Allegations for $4.1 Million


The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has reached a $4.1 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice following allegations of sexual assault and discrimination by a former swim coach, as reported by The Baltimore Banner.

The settlement stems from accusations against long-time head swimming and diving coach Chad Cradock, who was accused of sexually abusing and harassing male team members while also discriminating against female athletes. A Title IX investigation, released last month, found that UMBC failed to adequately respond to these allegations.

(Photo : UNSPLASH / Markus Spiske)

Allegations and Investigation: Uncovering a Culture of Misconduct

According to CBS News, federal investigators determined that Cradock fostered a "hypersexualized environment," in which he allegedly touched male athletes' genitals and invited them to sleepovers at his residence. Despite knowledge of such behavior, university administrators reportedly took no action to address it, even ignoring a student's plea for assistance, stating, "He is a real creep and makes us students uncomfortable. Help!"

Under the terms of the settlement, affected male athletes may receive $180,000 each, while female athletes could receive $60,000 each. Valerie Sheares Ashby, who assumed the presidency of UMBC in 2022, issued an apology on behalf of the university, expressing deep remorse for the events that transpired.

Tragically, Cradock died by suicide in 2021, leaving behind a legacy tarnished by the allegations leveled against him.

READ ALSO: Washington State Advances House Bill 2242 To Enhance Sexual Assault Resources On College Campuses

Reckoning with Institutional Failures

The settlement underscores the profound impact of institutional failures in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination within university settings. Despite numerous reports and complaints, UMBC's failure to take decisive action allowed the harmful behavior to persist, resulting in irreparable harm to the victims and tarnishing the reputation of the institution.

The findings of the Title IX investigation shed light on systemic deficiencies in UMBC's response mechanisms, highlighting the need for comprehensive reforms to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The university must prioritize the safety and well-being of its students and ensure that robust safeguards are in place to address instances of misconduct promptly and effectively.

Moving Forward: A Commitment to Change

In the aftermath of the settlement, UMBC faces the daunting task of rebuilding trust and restoring confidence in its commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive campus environment. Transparent communication, accountability, and meaningful reforms are imperative to address the systemic issues that allowed the misconduct to persist unchecked.

Furthermore, the university must prioritize support services for survivors and implement preventative measures to create a culture of respect and accountability within its athletic programs and beyond. By acknowledging past failures and actively working to address them, UMBC can chart a path towards healing and renewal, ensuring that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

As UMBC grapples with the aftermath of this settlement, it must remain steadfast in its commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and inclusivity. Only through concerted efforts to address institutional shortcomings and prioritize the well-being of its students can UMBC truly fulfill its mission as a beacon of learning and enlightenment.

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