Letter to the Editor: Kudos, Olivia Sanchez

By Brion O'Connor | April 16, 2018 9:21pm

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Brion O'Connor. Photo courtesy of Brion O'Connor.

Dear University of Portland community, 

I'm writing as the father of two collegiate athletes and as a longtime coach. The University of Portland should be proud of Olivia Sanchez. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the school's "leadership" who attended the Wally Awards ceremony. 

I was appalled to read how the university president and other school officials sat in silence as Goutham Sundaram spewed his hateful and misogynistic invective at that ceremony. The university ought to be embarrassed. 

Being from Boston, I'm well aware of the unsettling tendency of those who purport to uphold the Catholic faith to sweep unpleasantries under the rug. So the school only holds Sundaram accountable? This is a classic example of what I call "The Nassar Defense," in which Michigan State officials tried to dodge responsibility for Nassar's despicable assault spree. Blame the individual (who, obviously, is a senior, and will depart in May), but don't hold the school officials accountable. That's simply unacceptable. That a school official didn't stand up and put an end to the vile "performance" is reprehensible. And utterly spineless. 

Given Portland's impressive list of female athletic alumni, from Tiffany Milbrett to Megan Rapinoe, it was the school officials who failed Sanchez. Note the Beacon's "submission policy": "The Beacon welcomes a free and *respectful exchange of ideas." How school officials could turn a cowardly, blind eye to Sundaram's disturbing diatribe is beyond me. 

Respectfully, Brion O'Connor

Brion O’Connor can be reached at brionoc@verizon.net

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