The two women who notified the University of Minnesota about Norwood Teague’s sexual harassment, including all those gross text messages he sent them, released a joint statement. Ann Aronson and Erin Dady say in the statement that they had intended to keep their names confidential and the university’s president “strove to maintain our confidentiality.” But an email sent by the former athletic director contained details about the event where the sexual harassment happened, leading to speculation about who had filed the complaints. In response to that, Aronson and Dady chose to identify themselves.
Dady is a special assistant to the president for government and community relations. Aronson is the president’s deputy chief of staff. Here is their full statement, which was released by the university, via the Star Tribune:
The University of Minnesota asks that you respect the wishes of the courageous individuals behind this below statement and give them their privacy. There will be no interviews granted, and no additional comment provided regarding the statement or their identities. Thank you.
Statement of Ann Aronson and Erin Dady
We are the two women who filed the initial complaints of sexual harassment and assault by Norwood Teague at the University of Minnesota. We are members of President Kaler’s senior leadership team, and Teague was a colleague of ours on that team.
We felt compelled to report Teague’s behavior because it was frightening and wrong. We believed there would be others, and we felt a duty to help protect them.
When filing our complaints, we intended to keep our identities confidential. It is difficult to report sexual harassment and assault and endure a public examination that includes speculative news coverage. President Kaler strove to maintain our confidentiality and is taking decisive steps to review and investigate all sexual harassment allegations and the climate in Gopher athletics. He has made it clear that the University of Minnesota will not tolerate sexual harassment. For that we are very grateful.
Unfortunately, Teague has sent an email inside and outside of the U of M community, disclosing that these incidents of unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical sexual misconduct occurred at a University of Minnesota senior leadership retreat. With only a dozen women having attended the retreat, our identities have been rumored and speculated about. And some members of the media have sought to discover who we are.
We therefore decided to reveal our identities ourselves, today, in this public statement. We ask you to respect our privacy and the privacy of others who decide to take such action.
Sexual harassment is a predatory act. Having too much to drink does not excuse it. It’s a problem that continues to plague our institutions and our working lives despite programs and training designed to suppress it. The only way to eliminate it is to call attention to it when you see it or experience it.
In sharing our story today, we hope to make it easier for those who experience sexual harassment and assault to come forward. We stand with them.
Image via Associated Press