Independent review called for by Utah State University Board of Trustees

Noelle Cockett delivers her State of the University address at Utah State University on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

LOGAN – The Utah State University Board of Trustees has called for an independent investigation into concerns raised by USU football players about comments of religious bias allegedly made by university president Noelle Cockett.

According to a USU statement released Saturday afternoon, the meeting referenced in the football players’ statement was held via Zoom on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the request of current student-athletes but wasn’t recorded by the university.

We take this matter seriously and understand that facts and details matter,” said Jody Burnett, chair of the Board of Trustees in a statement released by the university. “The players’ statement did not provide details about what was said. As a result, we will be working with an independent investigator to understand what was said during the meeting and the context for the alleged statements.

“Consistent with our university culture, USU is committed to listening to students, and we will handle this matter with integrity, fairness and open minds.”

The Trustees will provide further information as soon as possible.

Football players issued a statement Friday to national publication Stadium, saying they would not compete in Saturday’s football game at Colorado State because of perceived religious and cultural bias against interim head coach Frank Maile.

“During the meeting (with Cockett and Director of Athletics John Hartwell), we voiced our support for Interim Head Coach Frank Maile,” the player statement read. “In response to our comments, their primary concern was his religious and cultural background. Players, stating their diverse faiths and backgrounds, then jumped to Coach Frank Maile’s defense in treating everyone with love, equality, and fairness.”

Later Friday evening, Cockett released her own statement, saying, “I am devastated that my comments were interpreted as bias against anyone’s religious background.”

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  • Melody Graulich December 12, 2020 at 11:07 pm Reply

    I ask the football players to be transparent about what they allege the USU president said. USU needs more diversity. It is easy to make accusations without specifics.

  • Ineed December 13, 2020 at 9:24 am Reply

    Good hell cant any one say any thing any more with people going off the clift?
    And as far as they were Utah State football players that you should be ashamed of yourself you don’t deserve to wear and Utah State shirt

    • Dean December 16, 2020 at 10:56 am Reply

      Using the attitude of the President of U.S.U., “We already had a female president, see how that worked out.”

  • JOHN SMITH December 13, 2020 at 10:00 pm Reply

    Discrimination and Racism should not be tolerated. It is time for Noelle Crockett to step down. If she doesn’t step down she should be fired. For people that think that it is not a big deal, what if it was you that was being discriminated against. Frank Maile is a well respected Coach and a true Aggie not a Coach using Utah State as a stepping stone to somewhere else.

    • Whale December 14, 2020 at 10:43 am Reply

      John Smith, thanks for your succinct and thoughtful assessment. In regards to “Ineed’s” comment before you… I hope not everyone will “go off the ‘clift’!”

      • Dean December 16, 2020 at 10:58 am Reply

        If Crocket is proud of her words, where is she too repeat them to everyone?

  • Polly Polygamy December 15, 2020 at 10:44 am Reply

    People get jobs in this state ALLLLL the time because of their religious affiliation to the Mormon church. Why is it only acknowledged & considered a problem when the same discrimination is used against someone in that community?

  • Barnabus December 23, 2020 at 4:20 pm Reply

    My name is Barnabus and I have white guilt. I would say that I have white privilege but, I grew up poor and never experienced any of it. I joined the military and became a combat vet to break the cycle of poverty. It was because of me selling my body that I was able to grace a university with my presence. My whiteness has not help me get a job, but my education has. Yet, I am now told that I should feel guilty because of my lack of melatonin in my skin. The one thing that I have learned is to have empathy for those especially children, who go to bed hungry at night. My experience has taught me that poverty sucks no matter what color you skin color is.

    My point being, we all need to get over this PC wokeness and start treating everyone we meet as a fellow human beings and have a little empathy for their plight and quit this bashing of each other. We will all offend someone at some point and sometimes people need to be offended. I would just like to know what she said that was so heinous.

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