January 14th, 2019 at 12:36 PM ^

no painting her in the same brush would be saying she is guilty and should go to jail.  sending up the chain is probably the minimal thing you can do and she did.  it's also not like she was an underlying; she was the VP. 

For the personal conduct clause or whatever else you have about integrity in your contract the bar has to be higher than I sent an email once.  

If thats not the bar the JoePa is way more innocent than we all think 


January 13th, 2019 at 11:42 PM ^

I probably disagree with Brian more than I agree with him, but in this case he's on to something.

There's a tendency in matters like this to try to make up for the lack of previous action by acting immediately -- before a true understanding is obtained. That's not justice, it's impetuousness, and too often the underlying impetus has less to do with protecting others or righting wrongs, and more to do with positioning oneself on the moral high ground.

Bando Calrissian

January 13th, 2019 at 11:56 PM ^

The point is that in this case, Michigan completely dropped the ball in how it handled this hire, how it disguised this hire, how it backpedaled on this hire, and now how it's recast the entire narrative as it undid this hire. They could have gotten in front of this and made their case. They didn't. The Daily caught on to them on a Friday night, and then Athletics did what they do best when they have to fix a story.

You can believe all you want about what Faehn did or didn't do, but the fact of the matter is if Michigan was so confident that this was all just fine, they sure as hell didn't act like it. And it doesn't change the optics that if you're down the road from East Lansing, and your fanbase and university constituents (students, faculty, alumni, etc.) consistently feel strongly about ensuring that Michigan remains in some way on a moral high ground above the tire fire happening up there, this isn't just going to slip through. 

The question isn't about whether or not she was "railroaded." It's the fact that the way Warde Manuel handled this, he doesn't allow for a lot of benefit of the doubt. Faehn wasn't hired in a vacuum devoid of context and news cycles. Bad optics are bad optics, bad decisions are bad decisions. And this was both.


January 15th, 2019 at 8:57 AM ^

hate to be the bearer of bad today's microcosm of social menacing...I mean media...everyone does everything wrong in an instant because the internet and social media said so. I am not in agreement with covering or ignoring the mess in east landfil. However if we vilify anyone and everyone for what was posted by thirty or so people and consider it a majority opinion due to the number of likes and retweets...we as society are screwed beyond repair.


January 14th, 2019 at 10:19 AM ^

Not sure if it was a bad decision or not, but it definitely was managed as if it was a decision that the AD was hoping wasn't noticed.

I don't know if Rhonda Faehn should have a job at UM, but if the AD really thought she should, they should have managed her hiring with some clear communications about their diligence, their review of the facts, the parties with whom they consulted, including the members of the gymnastics team, and so on.

They claim they did all those things in a press release after the shit hit the fan.  Fine.  If they had said all of that before the shit hit the fan, maybe she has a job at UM today.  Instead, they tried to slip it in under cover of night and hoped no one would notice.  

This was a genuinely foolish hope.  Someone always notices eventually.  And it looked so much worse because they handled it this way.  


January 14th, 2019 at 10:33 AM ^

It would appear to me that it wasn't something that was done under cover of night with hope no one would notice, but more that the proper information did not make it up high enough during the hiring process for a determination as to whether the hire was appropriate and how it should be presented to the public.  

Neither is a good look, but it is clear that Michigan gymnastics did not need her services, but rather she probably had a good rep for developing athletes and knew somebody who knew somebody and was offered a middling position that passed under the noses of the "higher ups" within the athletic department.  It is not like she is an everyday name in the Nassar thing, Congress questioned her for the like 7 minutes and was like "nah you're good."  With all of the changes going on with football, I think it is very feasible that the Manuel simply missed this.

Despite how anybody feels about what Faenn did or did not do, the outrage that resulted was ultra-foreseeable, and would not have been worth the headache to Warde Manuel if he had been fully advised of the circumstances.  I believe this is probably a very unpleasant week or two for several people within the gymnastics department at Michigan.


January 14th, 2019 at 12:02 AM ^

Life is not always fair.  She was involved in a disgusting situation with criminal activity resulting in someone sentenced for up to 175 years, iirc. 

She did nothing criminal, but she might have to sit on the sidelines for a couple of years and let the dust settle on that mess. 

Seems way too soon for UM to hire from that situation. 


January 14th, 2019 at 7:36 AM ^

I don't think her hiring is bad because she's likely to repeat the incident, it's bad because of the impact lies on the gymnasts and students that have a message sent to them that their well-being and safety is not important. The original press release did nothing to show that those fears would be invalid.

You Only Live Twice

January 14th, 2019 at 12:02 AM ^

Yes, there isn't so much right or wrong at this point, it's less about justice going forward and more about collateral damage.  Positioning for moral high ground is not a bad thing, unless it's covering up something.  There doesn't seem to be coverup here, other than how hiring/onboarding may have been handled. 

Part of the fallout from the MSU situation is that innocent people will have to bear a burden going forward. Will there be collateral damage, yes, there will. It's always like that after evil has been allowed to flourish.  If it isn't fair well then what can I say about life.  

You Only Live Twice

January 14th, 2019 at 12:44 PM ^

That wasn't exactly the nuance I was attempting to convey.. I agree with what you are saying.  Of course it's wrong.  I would never seek to "justify" an innocent person being punished.  

It's probably better for me to not comment further without having a better handle on exactly what happened.  There is certainly a lively radio discussion ongoing.  


January 13th, 2019 at 10:32 PM ^

I appreciate the perspective, because it's all too easy to pile on someone without getting all the information. In this case, I'm not willing to say that Faehn is an awful human being, or that she should never have another job, but the safety of the student athletes comes first in this situation. Doesn't make sense to have anyone mixed up with the Nassar situation on staff.


January 13th, 2019 at 11:43 PM ^

It does not matter. Anyone even remotely related to Nassar case is not someone the university should be mixed with. I don't care if she is the greatest coach in the world and every gymnast wanted her on board. The university's reputations is far more important than hiring someone who has no ties to this university. It may be completely unfair to her, but she is radioactive at this point.


January 14th, 2019 at 9:14 AM ^

Stop with the passive-aggressive b.s. 

I have also read Faehn's Congressional testimony. With all due respect to Brian, he gets it wrong. Under Indiana law, she was required to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement. She wasn't just anyone - she was a Senior Vice President of USAG, and the head of the Women's Gymnastics program. She had plenty of stripes to make the unilateral decision to notify law enforcement while separately informing the President, Steve Penny, of her decision to do so. And there wasn't just one allegation - there were three of which she was made aware. Furthermore, she didn't just fail to inform law enforcement, no one, including her, seems to have made any attempt to notify MSU or anyone else that Nassar was no longer affiliated with USAG. In fact, Penny pretty clearly instructed Faehn to cover up that fact. 

Brian's point about Faehn being in her job for 37 days when Raiman met with her is irrelevant. This wasn't a case of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." She was a very experienced former head coach of teams that had won national championships. In other words, it wasn't like she was so naive as to the ways of the world. 

So, no; no "railroading" going on here. Based on the merits of her actions (or inaction) she should not have been brought into the University in an Athletics capacity. Some other institution can be responsible for her rehabilitation. 


January 14th, 2019 at 11:20 AM ^

She immediately reported the information to Penny, who notified the FBI within one month of receiving the report.  We are not talking years here.  It is impossible to ascertain how she would have proceeded if the allegations were not provided to law enforcement for several months or a longer period of time, so she should not be held to account as if that was the case.

Michigan State knew that Nassar resigned from the position with the USA team and it is not reasonable to conclude that they were "in the dark" as to why he did so.  Hell, the first complaint that MSU got regarding Nassar pre-dated the knowledge that Faehn received by nearly a year. 

So, in order to conclude she is culpable, for something, it would look like "Faehn, 37 days on the job, only notified Penny, and did nothing more for an entire month before Penny determined that they had enough information to report it to law enforcement, and did not personally notify the Michigan State athletic department when 1) she testified that she did not even know that Nassar was employed by Michigan State, 2) Michigan State had already received and was investigating several reports of Nassar's conduct by MSU athletes, and 3) were aware that Nassar had resigned from USA gymnastics due to an FBI investigation into similar allegations."

This is not a Penn State/McQueery type situation.  Many people find no room for nuance in discussions such as these, but these are the very type of discussions where nuance is incredibly important.


January 14th, 2019 at 2:20 PM ^

I mostly agree with you, but in the context of legal culpability.  In the eyes of the law, yes we should take a very nuanced approach for innocent or guilty and I think that was done.

However as a representative of the University and w.r.t. a conduct clause for employment I don't want any association.  Maybe in a few years, or if it was handled differently who knows, but now no.  

Also, above all, I think her responses one this all came out and her absolute silence except for her testimony says a lot as well.  

Lastly, if she was a low level employee then that's one thing; she was the coach and had three different girls tell her directly.  Waiting weeks while her boss called the FBI was not enough.  Upon hearing about the second or third girl she should have made the call herself.  


January 13th, 2019 at 11:29 PM ^

If this is the case, it's a major failure of the athletic department.  They tried to sneak her in hoping that no one would notice and then the Daily broke the story and they were left in clean up the mess mode.  In doing so they hurt the athletes, the coach, and the image of the university.

If they did their due diligence and both the athletes and the AD were comfortable hiring her, they should have laid it all out in the open when announcing her hire.  Before she was seen on the sidelines there should have been a press release acknowledging the Nassar stuff, how she handled it and did her job, and how all of the gymnasts supported the hire.

By sneaking her in, they made this outcome inevitable and it calls into question the competence of a lot of people in the AD.  I never got a lot of the criticism for Manuel but he rightly deserves to be called out on this.

yossarians tree

January 14th, 2019 at 11:05 AM ^

It can be both things--she doesn't deserve the radioactive reputation, and she is not a fit for Michigan. I'm surprised Warde Manuel got himself into this situation. He should have run this by the regents first. This shouldn't hurt him long-term but people around the admin are going to be looking at him sideways for awhile. Comes with the territory.


January 13th, 2019 at 11:57 PM ^

Brian makes some fine points, but Faehn wasn't some low-level employee of USAG.  She was given multiple reports of pretty horrendous behavior by Nassar and she just kept telling Penny even when it didn't seem to be moving beyond that.  She shouldn't be lumped into the group of people who tried to cover up for Nassar, but she was a pretty powerful person in USAG andm, in my opinion, was at least slow to escalate the situation.  I mean, if your boss says he's going to the FBI and yet you keep getting multiple follow-up contacts from victims asking why he hasn't updated them, it may be time to go over his head and contact the police.  Any organization that would punish you for that has deeper issues.

Nassar got away with so much because a lot of good-intentioned people kept thinking it was someone else's problem once they followed the letter of the law.  Nassar's legacy ruined lots of lives and careers.  But UM messed up in hiring her and so they had to correct that mistake.  Brian is arguing from an academic standpoint, which I can sorta support, but practically there is no reason Michigan should have ever gotten involved with her.


January 14th, 2019 at 12:27 AM ^

I disagree with Brian and others.  As I understand Brian’s and Warde’s position, the situation was she followed the “rules” and reported the alligations to the “correct” persons as required and is neither liable nor responsible for the fact that nothing happened for the next year and that many many more gymnasts were abused.  But that is the same defense many at PSU used.

I believe, that if someone reports to you in disgusting detail an abuse like this, that you have the responsibility of following up beyond the “rules” if you see that nothing is happening.  In fact youth coach training now includes that specific situation.

At Michigan we need to protect our athletes and students.  And that means hiring people who will go beyond the call of duty (and beyond just protecting their ass) when something so obviously disgusting is asking YOU to take action  






January 14th, 2019 at 5:39 AM ^

"and that means hiring people who will go beyond the call of duty (and beyond just protecting their ass) when something so obviously disgusting is asking YOU to take action."  

If that's the case Michigan needs a new Board of Regents. They just allowed the university to be run via twitter.



January 14th, 2019 at 10:22 AM ^

It's pretty clear from reading around the internet this morning that some of the survivors had grave reservations. The woman wasn't being tried--this isn't about railroading or crucifying anyone--she was being hired, and given how much ugly remains from Nassar and MSU the appropriate move would have been to pass on the hire, period. The whole thing was handled very, very poorly. 

If--IF--the university thought that Ms. Faehn was spotless in the affair, and somehow thought it should lead the charge in rehabilitating her, that would have been a quite different project, dictating a careful announcement and willingness to deal with the scrutiny that followed. That--clearly--wasn't what happened. They ended up looking like they were sneaking her in the back door, conjuring a poor hiring announcement after the press and students got wind. . . cluster fuck. 

It's to Warde's credit--meaningful--that he apologized, straightforwardly. But I still feel curious about the gestation of this thing. Is he, in the end, pretty wooden-eared? Was there a lot of hand-wringing? I just can't believe with the pain that's out there that they wouldn't have expected still more pain. 


January 14th, 2019 at 12:06 PM ^

Well if her testimony and the emails her attorney selected say she didn't do anything wrong...  The link doesn't even discuss what the relevant reporting statute is.  Many require reporting to either law enforcement or the department of family services.  Did Brian and the rest of you just forget the whole fucking Penn State scandal, where the dominate excuse was "well, I told Joe Pa"?  

If MSU hired her, Brian would have gone fucking apeshit.