Cal Poly knew, ignored coach’s transgressions

September 15, 2011

Jon Stevenson

Cal Poly officials have known for years that serious, repetitive allegations against women’s volleyball coach Jon Stevenson were credible, but ignored the ample evidence and refused to act until prodded by imminent newspaper exposure. [NewTimes]

Stevenson started this season as head coach but was “relieved of his coaching duties” Sept. 4, according to the New Times.

Numerous former players said they endured sexually-charged innuendo, improper touching, inappropriate meetings and a fear-based environment under Stevenson’s leadership.

Twenty-three women interviewed by the university — after officials finally began to investigate the flood of complaints — testified they left Cal Poly because of Stevenson. Of those, many abandoned full scholarships in departing.

After the university’s own probe into Stevenson’s behavior was completed in 2010, officials placed their conclusion under lock and key. It contained this paragraph:

“Mr. Stevenson has intruded on player’s personal time and lives without attention to appropriate professional boundaries. He has sown fear, divisiveness, and distrust among his players. He has attempted to isolate them from supportive networks and access to recourse to address their concerns. At times, he has made them feel inadequate and unworthy. He has created an environment described by players as unpredictable, unsafe, destructive, and miserable. We cannot believe that such an environment would be regarded by the NCAA as ‘representing the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports.’ It is our conclusion that Mr. Stevenson has created an environment that is detrimental to the members of the team …

The report also noted, “For most of (Stevenson’s)  players, volleyball, once a source of great joy and pride in their lives, became under his direction a source of unnecessary mental suffering and unhappiness.”

Stevenson was not fired after that report was finished, filed, and forgotten. But he was put out to pasture five days after reporters interviewed Cal Poly officials in early September.  A severance settlement is pending.


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jimmy_me

I’m not sure why they let this guy go… he sounds like a typical Cal Poly administrator to me. Maybe he can get a job with the Cal Poly Foundation.


MAD HATTER

I wonder if the Tennis Coach had any connection with this. Funny that he was let go not that long ago to.


pasoparent5

It’s 2011. Have we made no progress in the field of sexual harrassment? The alleged victims must’ve been 18-22 year olds yet they didn’t tell their folks? They didn’t go to the media themselves? They didn’t go back to the administrators when nothing was done? They stood by and let this nonsense go on…and on…


Don’t get me wrong; I’m not mad at those women…just sadly astonished. It just shows that this sicko must’ve had quite a psychological hold on them, especially if some players were willing to leave Poly and relinquish their full-ride scholarships, just to be free of this creepy coach.


Good thing our college-age daughter didn’t attend Poly w/this pervert or my husband would’ve already “paid him a visit”.


SLOChuck

I think this situation says more about society’s tendency to make women feel like they need to just suck it up than the women’s reluctance to speak up. Chances are, many of them did tell their friends/family/Poly, and yet nothing was done by Cal Poly.

I wouldn’t be surprised if their positions on the team and their scholarships were threatened.

Shame on you Cal Poly for allowing this to go on.


oto

Thank-you, SLOChuck, for your insightful reply to pasoparent5.


These bloggers’ replies demonstrate to me that you don’t have to be a female to understand the dynamics of sexism, and you don’t have to be male to perpetuate a misguided, sexist view of the feminine experience inside “the system.”


The Gimlet Eye

I have often thought that coaches should be psychologically tested before they are hired. No test, no hire. Period. Many coaches manifest undesireable psychological traits. These should be identified in order to weed them out.


oto

To pasoparent5: Your question, “Have we made no progress in the field of sexual harassment?” is answered by your own post. And the answer, judging by your post is, “apparently not.”


jb

Pasoparent5, where did you get the idea that these girls stood by and didn’t speak up? The school finally investigated after numerous complaints against him–where do you think the complaints came from?


racket

Applause to New Times for bird-dogging this story. It would have been completely swept under the rug without them. Nice job.


R.Hodin

Great, I can see a class-action lawsuit against the CalPoly administration for covering up for a predator. And coming on the heels of the state bill to open up the CPSU Foundation & Corporation records, those layers are gonna have a field day!


Good job, CPSU Administration!


r0y

Now if only their incompetence can be financially tied to their personal assets…


mkaney

That is one of the single greatest problems facing our society.. some of us, if we make poor decisions, have everything on the line, while others can bankrupt companies, harm people, you name it, and they really have nothing to lose.


The Gimlet Eye

I strongly agree. That’s the hallmark of our modern society, the way things are done. I suspect that corruption in our country is at an all-time high right now.


rallyraid

Must be why they keep raising the tuition, between their insurance and payoffs to hush up people in the know it’s gotta be getting expensive. Gotta love the happiest place on earth,just keep smiling and covering your eyes and ears.


scoopone

A severance package is being considered??? When is this nonsense going to stop. He doesn’t deserve any severance, just accrued vacation and a comment like “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”


r0y

He’s going to need *something* for all the civil suits that are sure to be forthcoming. One can only hope that justice will be served.


fhill123

He deserves severance of his member only.


MAD HATTER

I wonder how many under the table payments have been made so people would keep quite about this issue. And you say stuff like this never happens in good old San Luis Obispo? .


easymoney

“After the university’s own probe into Stevenson’s behavior was completed in 2010, officials placed their conclusion under lock and key.”

“The report also noted, “For most of (Stevenson’s) players, volleyball, once a source of great joy and pride in their lives, became under his direction a source of unnecessary mental suffering and unhappiness.”


“Stevenson was not fired after that report was finished, filed, and forgotten. But he was put out to pasture five days after reporters interviewed Cal Poly officials in early September. A severance settlement is pending.”


I wonder if all the new incoming students and their parents were made aware of this during WOW week?

Smacks of cronyism and union interference, with the students being delt the losing hand…


r0y

“A severance settlement is pending.” should read “A package severance is pending…”


Sever his package.


Disgusted

Good riddens! The team may not win as many games, but they keep their confidence and pride.


pasoparent5

Absolutely! I wish these young ladies all the best as they finish their academic and athletic careers at Poly. I bet they are soooo glad finally to be rid of such an arrogant & perverted ex-coach. Also best of luck to their interim coach Caroline Walters! Go Mustangs!