Matt Fiascone, father of former Utah swimmer Austin Fiascone, has just released the following open letter to university president David Pershing:
In spite of continued efforts to provide the University of Utah numerous opportunities to resolve the disgraceful acts that occurred in your swimming program, you have collectively chosen to repeatedly ignore the growing crisis. Most recently, I advised you that I desired to have a meeting set with someone in authority to begin legitimate discussions of a resolution. You may think that the appointment of two “independent investigators” is an adequate response to this request. It is not.
The University’s first effort to “investigate” was through its own Office of Equal Opportunity. This was an unmitigated failure. So bad that you now refuse to release the report even to those who filed the complaint to initiate it. Further, there are conflicting statements about its completion. Now you hire investigators and have them report to the University President and expect the victims, their families and all outsiders to believe the report will be impartial? To compound your negligence, a week has gone by and, to my knowledge; none of the victims have been interviewed by the investigators. This delay is not only unacceptable but it is exacerbating the damage. The fact that administrators within the athletic department, including Dr. Hill, have been aware of serious issues with Mr. Winslow for over 4 years is irrefutable. There is no need to spend time and money on an investigation to make that determination. There are dozens of pages of correspondence, both to and from the University, verifying this. I will gladly provide these to anyone who is interested.
Due in large part to the delay in taking this situation seriously, other victims have suffered. There are now student-athletes with serious depression and other psychological issues that need immediate help. They can’t wait for another investigation followed by more internal posturing and machinations. The same goes for student-athletes that had their scholarships pulled by a vindictive bully (Winslow) and others who need clarity on their athletic eligibility so they can consider their options for next year. They all need resolution sooner than later. Why can’t the University step up and address these immediate concerns without waiting to see how big their ultimate problem is? It’s the right thing to do and it’s time for the University to do something right for these students.
Together with other victims who have already come forward, we have begun to form a coalition. The eventuality of these actions should be very predictable. Once a bully like Winslow is knocked down, many others who were afraid to speak out will likely join the call for justice. Often times even people who were guilty or complicit come forward and implicate others. Maybe even Winslow will talk about who knew what when or even who else in the athletic department should face a fate similar to him. Misery does love company. Silence and delay will not end well for the University of Utah.
I remain open to serious dialogue toward a resolution for all.
Matthew G. Fiascone