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Statements on Fine’s firing by Syracuse chancellor, Boeheim


Mike Miller

Syracuse fired assistant coach Bernie Fine Sunday night, not long after a third man accused him of sexual molestation in the early 2000s.

Fine, 65, denied the allegations, but was put on paid leave less than two weeks ago when allegations by two first surfaced about the assistant sexual molesting them in the ‘80s and ‘90s. That was enough for the school.

“At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately,” Kevin Quinn, the school’s senior vice president for public affairs, said in a statement.

That wasn’t the only statement issued by a Syracuse official Sunday night. This was from head coach Jim Boeheim:

“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”

Boeheim came to Fine’s immediate defense after the first two allegations, calling the accusers liars and in search of money. He’s now done issuing statements.

And this was from Chancellor Nancy Cantor:

Tonight, in the wake of troubling new allegations that emerged in the media today, I am writing to let you know that Bernie Fine’s employment at the University has been terminated effective immediately.

Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all. The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the University by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel. Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded.

Since I last wrote to you, we have been cooperating fully with the authorities. On Friday, November 18, as the District Attorney has noted, we turned over to his office the results of our 2005 months-long investigation. Also on November 18, our Board of Trustees retained an independent law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to review our procedures in responding to the initial allegations when they first came to the University’s attention. I fully supported that decision and it is vital that we examine our protocols and actions in dealing with such serious allegations. We need to learn all we can from this terrible lesson.

All of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work. We do not tolerate abuse. If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that this basic principle is reinforced.

Given the details that continue to emerge in this case, these probably won’t be the last statements regarding Fine.

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