SJSU FAQ Update Regarding Athletics Department and Investigations

Editor’s Note: The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) is also available on the SJSU FYI site.

2009-10 INVESTIGATION: FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW, AND THE SJSU ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

Q: What do we know about the 2009-2010 investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: The following timeline reflects our current understanding.

December 2009: SJSU Women’s Head Swimming and Diving Coach Sage Hopkins reported to SJSU administrators that students on his team had reported to him that during physical therapy sessions [then] SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw sometimes touched their breasts (under the bra) when treating shoulder injuries and/or touched their bikini line when treating back or hip injuries.

December 2009: Coach Hopkins reported what he learned to his supervisor, Jody Smith, assistant athletics director for events and facilities, and to Athletics Director Tom Bowen.

December 2009: Tom Bowen requested Sage Hopkins report the facts to Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager.

December 2009: Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager, initiated an internal investigation. The investigation included interviews with 14 female student-athletes, one male student-athlete, two SJSU trainers, and Scott Shaw.

December 2009: The SJSU Police Department received a report regarding inappropriate touching during physical therapy sessions by then SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw and conducted interviews regarding the allegations. No charges were filed against Scott Shaw.

May 2010: Arthur Dunklin, SJSU’s equal opportunity manager, concluded the investigation. The investigation found no violation of university policy because the alleged improper touching was determined by Arthur Dunklin to be a form of pressure or trigger point therapy which is “a bona fide” means of treating muscle injury.

TIMELINE REGARDING PRESIDENT PAPAZIAN’S ACTIONS REGARDING FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW, AND THE SJSU ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT 

Q: When did President Papazian hear about the 2009 allegations involving former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: In December of 2019, President Papazian learned of a nearly 300-page packet of emails and notes that was circulated to the NCAA and Mountain West Conference by an SJSU coach concerning alleged misconduct by Shaw in 2009. Although President Papazian had been told in 2016 by Human Resources that the allegations had been investigated and not substantiated, she had many unanswered questions, so she promptly reopened the matter. In January, SJSU hired an independent investigator, and President Papazian asked the California State University systemwide Title IX Coordinator to oversee the investigation.

In connection with that investigation, President Papazian reviewed materials, including a 2016 email, that she had received her first week on campus from outgoing Interim SJSU President Sue Martin. Sue Martin’s email noted a variety of workplace employment concerns about the athletics department and referred to a complaint about Shaw that had been investigated years before. President Papazian did not recall that reference to Shaw until she reviewed Martin’s 2016 email.

Q: What did President Papazian do in response to Sue Martin’s 2016 email about the athletics department?

A: In response to Interim SJSU President Sue Martin’s email describing the employee conduct and workplace concerns, President Papazian called for a review of the athletics department by Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Beth Pugliese. Beth Pugliese was the administrator responsible for responding to employee conduct and workplace concerns, and she conducted a climate review of the athletics department.

Q: What were the results of the climate review conducted by Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Beth Pugliese?

A: In 2017, following the conclusion of the climate review:

  • Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier’s five-year contract was set to conclude in June 2017. In February 2017 his management duties were reassigned to focus primarily on capital fundraising for the remainder of his time at SJSU.
  • The University offered training for coaches and athletics staff on a variety of topics including compliance, academics, unconscious bias, and Title IX. These trainings focused on improving climate and reporting on Title IX and general overall equity issues in athletics and within the athletics department.
  • 2017: The university conducted a national search for a new athletics director. The search was chaired by Annette Nellen, professor of accounting and finance, and long-term chair of the Athletics Board. Other members of the committee included Stefan Frazier, then associate professor of linguistics and language development, and vice chair of the SJSU Academic Senate; Walt Jacobs, dean of the College of Social Sciences; Jaye Bailey, then vice president for organizational development and chief of staff; Paul Lanning, then vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation board of directors; and Andy Feinstein, then provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
  • 2017: Marie Tuite served as interim athletics director from February 9, 2017 until May 17, 2017, when she was named as the new director of athletics.

Q: After the conclusion of the 2009-2010 investigation, Sage Hopkins continued to address concerns about Scott Shaw to multiple SJSU administrators. Why did it take 10 years to reopen the 2009-2010 investigation?

A: When the original 2009-2010 investigation concluded, in accordance with policy and privacy considerations, the complainant – a student-athlete at SJSU, the respondent – then SJSU Head Athletic Trainer Scott Shaw, and the administrators with a need to know, were informed of the findings. No appeals were filed.

To the best of SJSU’s current leadership’s knowledge, prior to 2019, neither Coach Hopkins nor any other person reported allegations of additional instances of inappropriate touching of student-athletes by the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw. As the 2009-2010 investigation into the 2009 allegations was completed and closed, there was no additional investigation between 2009-2019.

PRESIDENT PAPAZIAN LAUNCHES 2019 EXTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPORTS MEDICINE, SCOTT SHAW

Q: Why did President Papazian reopen the investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: From 2009 to 2019, during the tenures of five SJSU presidents and three directors of athletics, the 2009-2010 investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw, which had been concluded consistent with university policy and process, therefore remained closed.

It was not until December 2019 that President Papazian understood there were concerns that the previous investigation may have been inadequate. For that reason, President Papazian launched a new external investigation into the allegations that former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw had inappropriately touched student-athletes during physical therapy.

Q: Who conducted the 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine, Scott Shaw?

A: The 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw was conducted by an external attorney investigator Marilou Mirkovich and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer Linda Hoos.

Q: What did SJSU learn from the 2019 external investigation into former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw?

A: The 2019 external investigation into former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw disagreed with the original investigation’s findings that the touching was consistent with “bona fide” physical therapy techniques, and validated the allegations made by the original complainant, a student-athlete at SJSU in 2009.

The 2019 external investigation also substantiated claims made by 10 other student-athletes, nearly all of whom have graduated, alleging inappropriate touching by the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.

The 10 complainants in the 2019 external investigation included seven student-athletes who had been interviewed in the 2009-2010 investigation and three other student-athletes who came forward for the first time with similar allegations during the 2019 process.

The 2019 external investigator concluded that the conduct violated the university’s policies in effect at the time of the conduct at issue. The findings are now final.

Q: Where are the findings of the 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw and how can I review them? 

A: A summary of the findings for the 2019 external investigation is available on the SJSU FYI site.

Q: Does the university plan to release the full results of its 2019 investigation into the Shaw allegations?

A: A summary of the findings of the 2019 external investigation is available on the SJSU FYI site. Given the very personal and private subject matter of the reports involving students, the university does not intend to voluntarily release the findings in their entirety.

Q: Knowing what SJSU knows now, would Scott Shaw be terminated if he was still an employee?

A: Yes.

STUDENT SAFETY AND TITLE IX REPORTING

Q: What is SJSU doing to help students stay safe and report Title IX violations?

A:  In response to the findings of the 2019 external investigation, the campus is enacting many changes immediately or no later than the start of the Fall 2021 semester, including, but not limited to:

Accountability & Facts

  • An external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings.
  • Anyone with relevant information is encouraged to share their concerns with the external investigator, Elizabeth V. McNulty, who can be reached directly at 949-399-5026.
  • Individuals with Title IX questions, concerns and a need to report a Title IX violation (such as sexual misconduct or other discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender or gender identity) should contact the Title IX Office at 408-924-7290 or titleix@sjsu.edu.

 Policy & Staffing

  • The Athletics Department, in conjunction with the Student Health Center and the Title IX Office, is finalizing a new sports medicine chaperone policy, which will be implemented no later than the start of the Fall 2021 semester.
  • SJSU is adding resources to and restructuring the Title IX Office.
  • SJSU is increasing confidential support resources, including a full-time campus survivor advocate, before the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Training & Education

  • SJSU will enhance education and orientation programs focused on sexual assault prevention, reporting options, and resources for survivors, witnesses, and bystanders.
  • Education will be provided to student-athletes, practitioners, and chaperones to ensure all persons involved in medical, physical therapy, and training sessions share a common understanding of what is expected.

Culture & Communication

  • SJSU is responding to findings related to Title IX from the 2020 Belong@SJSU campus climate survey, geared towards improving awareness of resources, reporting options and empowering students to come forward.
  • SJSU is initiating an awareness and information campaign to encourage student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the Athletics Department to use Spartan Speaks, SJSU Athletics’ anonymous reporting tool.
  • SJSU is providing user-friendly access to information about student rights and resources.
  • SJSU will communicate updates and next steps across campus and throughout the San José State community.

Q: What should individuals with Title IX questions, concerns or a need to report a Title IX violation do?

A: Individuals with Title IX questions, concerns or a need to report a Title IX violation (such as sexual misconduct or other discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender or gender identity) should contact the Title IX Office at 408-924-7290 or titleix@sjsu.edu.

EXTERNAL TITLE IX PROCEDURAL RESPONSE INVESTIGATION

Q: It was announced that there is an external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation. Why is there a new investigation?

A: We all need answers to questions about the original 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings, which is why President Papazian launched the 2019 external investigation and has requested a further external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation. As a campus, we will learn from the past, so we never repeat it.

Q: What is the scope of the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation?

A: The Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns about the original investigation.  

Q: How can I share information with the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation?

A: Anyone with information relevant to the Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is encouraged to share their concerns with the external investigator, Elizabeth V. McNulty, who can be reached directly at 949-399-5026.

Q: Is there a timetable for the next phase of the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation.

A: SJSU hopes that the investigation will conclude as soon as possible.  However, this is a complicated external investigation that may involve many witnesses which makes it very hard to estimate timetables.

Q: What is SJSU’s plan should the external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation conclude wrongdoing?

A: The university, President Papazian, and our community need answers to questions about the original 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns, which is why President Papazian has requested a further external Title IX Procedural Response Investigation.

Appropriate action will be taken once we have the answers to these questions.

ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP UPDATES

Q: Was the decision for Ms. Tuite to step down from her role as athletics director a joint decision by Tuite and President Papazian or an executive decision by the president?

A: As mentioned in the university’s news release, President Mary Papazian met with Director of Athletics, Marie Tuite, about the future leadership of the Athletics Department and agreed that Ms. Tuite will step down from her current role. This was a decision that was agreed to by both parties.

Q: Will there be an interim athletic director? Are there any candidates being considered to fill Tuite’s former position?

A: San José State University President Mary Papazian has named CFO and Vice President for Administration and Finance Charlie Faas as its interim director of athletics. Faas will be responsible for stewarding the athletics department until the university names its 15th Director of Athletics.

President Papazian has also formed a search committee chaired by Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff Lisa Millora, Faculty Athletics Representative and chair of the kinesiology department Tamar Semerjian, Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, NFL Network Analyst and SJSU alumnus James Jones, and Faas.

The President and search committee will work collaboratively with TurnkeyZRG, led by Managing Director Chad Chatlos, in a national search for its next Director of Athletics. Chatlos specializes in senior executive searches across the sports industry with a focus on roles in the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

Q: Was the position of special director of external relations and capital project development newly created?

A: Periodically the university appoints executives to positions such as this. This reassignment allows Ms. Tuite to continue supporting the university’s mission through her fundraising efforts while participating in the investigations.

Q: Was the position created to keep Ms. Tuite in the athletics department?

A: Ms. Tuite’s role is not based in the athletics department.

Q: Was Ms. Tuite investigated as part of the 2019 external investigation regarding Scott Shaw?

A: No. The 2019 external investigation into the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw was conducted by an external attorney investigator Marilou Mirkovich and was supervised by the CSU Systemwide Title IX Compliance Officer Linda Hoos.

That investigation focused primarily on the 2009-2010 investigation into Scott Shaw’s conduct and disagreed with the original investigation’s findings that the touching was consistent with “bona fide” physical therapy techniques, and validated the allegations made by the original complainant, a student-athlete at SJSU in 2009.

The 2019 external investigation also substantiated claims made by 10 other student-athletes, nearly all of whom have graduated, alleging inappropriate touching by the former Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw.

The Title IX Procedural Response Investigation is underway to determine the adequacy of the 2009-2010 investigation and how the university responded to the findings and subsequent concerns about the original investigation.

Q: How is the university responding to retaliation claims made by current or former employees?

A: The university does not typically comment on details of pending litigation or other complaints by or against employees (including complaints of retaliation).

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATIONS

Q: It was reported that there is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and/or Department of Justice Investigation (DOJ) involving SJSU. What is that investigation?

A: There are two federal investigations that the university is aware of. One is a criminal investigation into sexual misconduct and the other is a civil review of the university’s Title IX compliance.

SJSU is fully cooperating with all government investigations, and we encourage all members of our community to do so.

Q: How can I share information with federal investigators?

A: Anyone with relevant information regarding the government investigations are encouraged to share their information at community.sjsu@usdoj.gov.

Q: What is SJSU’s plan should the federal investigations conclude wrongdoing?

A: The federal government, the university, President Papazian, and our community need answers to allegations. Appropriate action will be taken by the university once we have the answers to these questions.