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UC Berkeley faculty petition for suspension of Cal football strength coach Damon Harrington

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What a mess.

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Despite the call by Chancellor Dirks for a new investigation into Cal Athletics, particularly the structures and practices of the Cal strength and conditioning program, UC Berkeley faculty have gone a step further and petitioned for the suspension (and effectively the removal) of Damon Harrington until the investigation is concluded. Harrington's contract was reportedly set to be renewed last week. The petition has reached around 100 signatures. You can click here for a list of names.

Below is the full response from UC Berkeley faculty.

Dear Chancellor Dirks:

The Berkeley Faculty Association requests the suspension of the renewal of the contract of football coach, Damon Harrington, pending further independent investigation. Harrington has allegedly been involved in two incidents: first, the over-exertion of football player, Ted Agu, leading to his death (for which the university had to pay $4.75 million in a civil suit in which the university admitted negligence); and second, provocation of team players to physically punish another player, leading to Fabiano Hale being knocked out unconscious. According to an extensive and detailed report in the San Francisco Chronicle (June 29), the investigation commissioned by the university exonerated Harrington without serious investigation of these incidents of abusive training.  If there is any truth to the allegations in the San Francisco Chronicle, condoning such behavior of its employees is out of keeping with any university that is accountable to its students and concerned to protect their safety and welfare. We, therefore, call for further independent investigation before renewing Harrington's contract.

Yours Sincerely, Michael Burawoy and Celeste Langan for the Berkeley Faculty Association