The newly elected chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, in one of her first actions, apologized Wednesday to Jordan McNair’s family for personnel recommendations the board made in the wake of the player’s death.
Linda R. Gooden, chosen Wednesday as chair of the board, issued a statement as part of the introductory news release on her election. In it she expressed regret that the board recommended that DJ Durkin should be retained as Maryland’s football coach, following an internal investigation stemming from McNair’s death earlier this year.
Gooden’s statement read, in part, “The board now understands that the board’s personnel recommendations were wrong. For that, we apologize to the McNair family, the University of Maryland, College Park community, and to the citizens of our state.”
The university reinstated Durkin at the board’s recommendation late last month, causing a huge backlash, but one day later he was fired without cause.
Board of Regents chair James T. Brady stepped down Nov. 1 following the backlash over the group’s recommendations. Gooden takes his place.
Maryland this week also parted ways with the trainers largely held responsible for McNair’s death from heat stroke.
Here is Gooden’s statement in its entirety:
I am honored to have been elected by my peers as the new Chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
Let me briefly make a few points.
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In its quest to keep an open mind about the facts presented in the two recent reports on the tragic death of Jordan McNair and the University of Maryland, College Park football program, and subsequent interviews with those involved, the board – in the minds of many – lost sight of its responsibility to the university system.
While the board’s decision was far from unanimous, and many members voted a different way, everyone on the board now understands that the board’s personnel recommendations were wrong.
For that, we apologize to the McNair family, the University of Maryland, College Park community, and to the citizens of our state.
Our goal as a board is to govern in a manner that affords every student an opportunity for a safe, affordable, and quality education experience.
Under my leadership, this board will accomplish that goal by recommitting to the principle of shared governance.
In the meantime, I also will be working to set up meetings with stakeholders in Annapolis and at the University of Maryland, College Park and across the system.
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