Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour was made aware of sexual harassment allegations during her time at UC Berkley via an email from a student-athlete, but did not respond, according to a report from PennLive.
Longtime Cal athletics employee Mohamed Muqtar was accused by seven former Golden Bears student-athletes of sexual violence and harassment dating back 20 years prior to his firing on May 11. An internal investigation from the school substantiated those claims.
Swimmer Jenna Rais, who competed for the Golden Bears in the early 2000s, said she sent an email in 2010 to Cal chancellor Robert Birgeneau regarding claims against Muqtar.
Barbour, the Cal athletic director from 2004-14, was copied on the email.
The email, obtained by PennLive, detailed Muqtar’s verbal and physical harassment of Rais, as well as a claim that his office had windows facing the pool to satisfy “perverted motives.”
Rais said that the email was inspired by a different sexual assault case that she filed with the school’s Title IX office against another Cal athletics employee.
“[N]othing came of it because [the other employee] wasn’t hired [yet] by the university at the time I was sexually assaulted,” she said.
After Rais sent the email, she never heard back from Cal about the allegations against Muqtar. She was surprised nothing came of it, but even more surprised that no one from the Cal administration contacted her about it.
“I expected something. You know, just a response confirming that they couldn’t do anything,” Rais told PennLive. “But really, looking back and realizing what, in their position, they could have done – they could have recommended to me that I report it through the official investigative process, everything that wasn’t reported already on paper.”
“It occurred to me that they should have that knowledge and that wherewithal to direct student-athletes to do that. But they didn’t. There was no response at all.”
Barbour released the following statement regarding the email claims:
“The safety and well-being of student-athletes, providing them resources and opportunities that lead to an outstanding college experience while preparing them to make an impact after graduation has been my top priority throughout my career. I take seriously allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior of any kind. I’m confident this matter was handled appropriately. However, since UC-Berkeley is reviewing the situation, it would be inappropriate to further comment.”