To the University of Maryland and Board of Regents:
The diploma that has hung on my office wall for so many years is being packed away. It is now a symbol of your shame, rather than my achievement.
You effectively condoned cruelty and wrote off the tragic death of a student-athlete with your short-sighted whitewashing of what occurred on campus in May through a series of meetings that culminated Tuesday. You have reinstated as your football coach DJ Durkin, who oversaw a program that installed a culture of fear and shame.
Durkin had been suspended (with pay) since before the season began. He should have been dismissed. Instead you reinstated him.
When football teams lose, the coach usually says, “It starts with me.” Here a life is lost and no one knows who the leader was?
The stands at Maryland Stadium, generally empty during football games, ought to remain that way. No decent person should attend while Durkin is on the sideline. And good luck recruiting. I would love to be in some kid’s home when Durkin promises the parents he will take good care of the son for the next four years. How? By having an assistant coach fling barrels of vomit? By using food as punishment? This isn’t a football program, it’s “Full Metal Jacket.”
So, my dear university, don’t send me letters asking for money. Don’t send me the alumni magazine. Ask me for nothing. You deserve nothing. Except contempt.
I’ve enjoyed rooting for the football team this season under interim coach Matt Canada. I can hardly imagine what the players have been through after losing a teammate and invoking his memory each game. Maybe we can make human sacrifice part of the pregame ritual. I will miss watching the team play. It’s not much to give up when you consider Jordan McNair surrendered his life.
At some point, Durkin will be gone. And then I think I will be back. But I will never forget what you have done and I will never forgive it.
Larry Weisman, Class of 1976
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