University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said on Friday that he didn't know about a party that led to a top aide's resignation earlier this month and put the spotlight on the Athletic Department.
Alvarez said he takes issue with a portion of a report assembled by an independent panel investigating allegations against former senior associate athletic director John Chadima. The report, which was issued publicly on Wednesday, said that Alvarez and another top Athletic Department official knew beforehand about the party held in Chadima's Los Angeles hotel room shortly before the Badgers football team appeared in the Rose Bowl. Chadima is accused of in inappropriately touching a student at the party, which was thrown for Athletic Department workers.
According to the report, Chadima was accused of reaching into the pants of a student worker, identified only as John Doe, at this Dec. 30 party, and then threatened to have the student fired after his advances were rebuffed.
After the allegations were brought to UW officials, Chadima was put on administrative leave on Jan. 6 and resigned the same day. He previously had issued an apology for a "lapse in judgment" in connection with the alleged incident. He said he will take full responsibility for his action that night, citing a problem with alcohol.
Alvarez said that he had known about some past parties held in the department, but not this particular one.
Alvarez spoke after the UW Athletic Board met to talk about the panel's report. UW Chancellor David Ward briefed members about what the four-member review panel found during the course of its investigation.
Alvarez said that he was supposed to have dinner with Chadima that night in Los Angeles, but Chadima canceled on him at the last minute. Alvarez said he didn't hear anything about the party that night.
"We were not aware of this specific party, and I want to make that perfectly clear. We knew nothing of this party, this particular party," he said.
Alvarez said that he believes the allegations against Chadima were an isolated incident.
While alcohol was at the party and donor money paid for it, Alvarez said that the department didn't OK it. He said that he'll work to reassure donors about where their money is going.
He also said that his staff will address the use of alcohol head on its employees to make sure this stays an isolated incident.
"We will definitely address the alcohol issue off campus, and we will address it very aggressively, and make sure that everyone in the Athletic Department understands it," he said.
Alvarez said that he's forming a committee that will put together the rules and standards that everyone in the department will have to follow.
The report said its findings were based on interviews with 23 people, including students and professional staff -- but they were "not able to arrange an interview" with Badgers football coach Bret Bielema. Three student employees of the Athletic Department declined to be interviewed. The report also reviewed information from Chadima's office computer and school-issued cell phone. Chadima declined to speak with the panel.