Since a culture of hazing in Northwestern University’s athletics department came to light in early July, 10 students have sued the university over sexual and racial abuse they say they experienced as student athletes.
The latest, filed Wednesday, alleges that upperclassmen shaved the words “Cinco de Mayo” into the hair of a Latino player, Ramon Diaz, who was 17 at the time, according to the Associated Press. Diaz said that a Black teammate was also the target of racist comments and taunts. His complaint lists instances of sexual hazing that are similar to those reported by other former players.
Diaz will be represented by the Illinois firms Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., and the Stinar Law Firm, which are already representing three other anonymous former Northwestern football players.
The Associated Press also reported that Northwestern has hired former U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch to investigate the culture of hazing on sports teams, as well as the university’s antihazing procedures.
Derrick Gragg, the university’s athletic director and a defendant in some of the lawsuits, called the investigation “a critical tool in identifying the additional steps Northwestern can take to eradicate hazing.”
But some of the former players’ lawyers criticized Lynch’s investigation, asking whether it was “an effort to counteract negative press.” They also questioned the thoroughness of the sixth-month investigation completed by the law firm ArentFox Schiff—which Northwestern said was not made publicly available due to privacy concerns.
“The University’s top priority should have been, and should be, doing right by the victims of these despicable acts and eradicating hazing from their campus. And they can start by being transparent and releasing the full report from the first investigation to the public,” attorneys Ben Crump, Steve Levin and Margaret Battersby Black said, according to the AP.