Imagine yourself in this situation: You're visiting your alma mater one weekend to take in a football game and catch up with old friends. At a school-sponsored party on campus, drinks are flowing and everyone is having a good time.
After a while, the celebration moves to a bar and a school official offers to give you a ride. But once in the car, he drives you out of town. He keeps telling you what a great ass you have and insists you check out his house. You politely decline, several times, but he doesn't listen and keeps driving away from downtown. You don't have your cell phone with you so you can't call your friends. Eventually, you end up at the official's house in a rural area and you don't know where the hell you are.
The school official offers you a drink, which you decline, though he keeps drinking. As he gives you a tour of his house, he keeps going on about what a great ass you have.
You say you want to meet your friends downtown, but the school official tells you he isn't going downtown and you should spend the night. What do you do?
Barry Alvarez apparently thinks you're a bit of a sissy if you decide to lock yourself in a bathroom to get away from the official.
Though Alvarez, UW-Madison's athletic director, didn't use that word, it's clearly the implication from comments he made to the Wisconsin State Journal last week regarding allegations facing his former assistant, John Chadima. Chadima has been accused by at least three people of sexual harassment and assault. He resigned after a student complained about an incident at the Rose Bowl earlier this year.
The above scenario was reported (PDF) by a former, unnamed, UW football player as occurring after a 2010 football game in Madison he attended.
Alvarez was skeptical when asked about the incident by the Journal: "Was that the accusation from a so-called ex-football player who had to lock himself in a closet to hide from John? I would question a lot of what was said."
Dane County Board Supv. Carousel Andrea Bayrd was incensed by Alvarez's comments. She wrote a letter (PDF) to him and interim UW Chancellor David Ward, complaining about Alvarez's attitude.
"How dare Alvarez make fun of an alleged victim who, if telling the truth, kept his wits in a very dangerous situation and made the right decision to remove himself from trouble," she writes. "It is acceptable for Alvarez to have a personal opinion as to the accuracy of the accusation, but it is not appropriate for Alvarez to bully the alleged victim as not being man enough by locking himself in a closet."
If the former player's accusations are true, Bayrd notes in a phone interview, he did the best possible thing, avoiding conflict and protecting himself.
Bayrd says not only does Alvarez's comment disrespect the victim, it has a chilling affect on other assault victims coming forward. "He's in a position of leadership. People trust his children to his leadership," she says. "He has to set an example that if there are concerns, they should be reporting them."
Alvarez is out of town and could not be reached for comment. Assistant athletic director Justin Doherty says, "We don't have a public comment on it."