Sandy Barbour Issues Statement Addressing Pat Chambers’ ‘Noose’ Comment

Penn State vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour issued a statement Monday morning in response to a former basketball player’s allegations against Pat Chambers. The release also outlined steps her department will take to address these issues moving forward.

In a tweet Monday, former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton alleged Chambers referenced a noose in conversations off the court, which led him to transfer away from the team. Barbour writes Chambers “deeply regrets” those words and is committed to educating himself on the matter.

“Our black community of students, faculty, and staff must have the opportunity to feel safe, respected, and welcome at Penn State, and clearly our past actions and words have not always contributed positively to that goal,” Barbour wrote. “It is our obligation to embrace all in our community regardless of differences — the color of their skin, their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or gender should not matter.

“Our community of student-athletes, staff and coaches is stronger because of the diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives they all bring to our competitive venues and classrooms,” she continued. “As leaders, our coaches must model the values of our institution and I remain steadfast in continuing to strengthen the culture of acceptance within our Penn State Athletics Department.”

Barbour noted it’s “imperative” to learn from past mistakes to create a more inclusive environment. To do so, she outlined several steps Athletics will take to achieve that goal.

First, Penn State will conduct an athletics “climate survey” to give the community the opportunity to provide feedback on the “culture, climate and experience” relating to diversity, inclusion, respect and acceptance. Barbour wrote the data will help Penn State implement new policies and provide resources to “enhance” Athletics’ culture.

Athletics will also establish an Intercollegiate Athletics Response Team to address issues relating to culture, climate, and experience. The team will partner with appropriate governing leadership to “engage in broader university discussions” to resolve issues. Additionally, Barbour wrote her team will contribute to President Eric Barron’s Commission on Racism, Bias, and Community Safety.

She also wrote Penn State will “support growth and change” by providing education opportunities for the Athletics community to take part in “thoughtful and impactful” discussions surrounding current issues, climate, and experiences. Athletics will also collaborate with committees to enhance student-athletes’ “overall quality of life and personal growth and development.”

“These steps are just a start,” Barbour wrote. “As we listen, learn and create ideas and efforts, we will implement a sustainable department-wide effort.”

Earlier Monday, Bolton posted a tweet alleging he transferred in 2019 due to Chambers’ insensitive remarks. The head coach posted a statement of his own and expressed remorse for his past actions.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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