The investigation launched by the University of California Berkeley into head women’s swimming coach Teri McKeever won’t be over anytime soon.
In a video call on Tuesday night, Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton told team parents that the investigation could take up to six months, according to the Orange County Register, which also noted that the call “often became heated.”
On May 24, a number of current and former Cal swimmers alleged that McKeever had been verbally and emotionally abusing members of the team over an extended period of time, which led the 29-year head coach to be placed on administrative leave the following day.
Cal then hired an independent law firm to investigate McKeever.
Knowlton reportedly acknowledged that some of McKeever’s alleged bullying took place on his watch, having been hired as AD in April 2018, but parents expressed frustration and anger over the school’s overall handling of the situation.
The OC Register says that both in the meeting and in interviews Wednesday, parents were upset about Knowlton and Cal’s failed response to the allegations, the lack of a plan for current team members moving forward, and the university’s commitment to investigating other coaches or officials who ignored reports or enabled McKeever’s misconduct.
There was also a general reaction of surprise “and in some cases outrage” that Knowlton concluded the video call, which included approximately 30 parents, by yelling, “Go Bears!”
“The general take away from the meeting is the lack of urgency on something that should have been taken care of a long time ago,” the parent of a current Cal swimmer said.
One parent said the response from Cal “seems inconsistent with truly taking the steps that lead to getting to the truth, resolving this issue and moving on as quickly as possible.
“The pace and speed doesn’t bring a lot of confidence to the parent group that (Cal) is willing to do a true investigation and get to the truth.”
Another parent noted that the call “seemed thrown together with no agenda. I really felt like it was put out there to gauge us.”
In addition to the external investigation from LA-based law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, McKeever is also being formally investigated by Cal’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination after she allegedly used a racial epithet and profanities in disparaging rap music, according to six swimmers and three parents familiar with the conversation.
The investigation into the incident will initially focus on potential racial discrimination but could be expanded to also consider possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and national origin, according to confidential university documents obtained by the Southern California News Group (SCNG).
McKeever has also been reported to be under investigation by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, according to The OC Register, though she doesn’t appear in the database as of June 2. SwimSwam has reached out to SafeSport for further clarification on the matter.