Third lawsuit filed over Northwestern hazing scandal

By Chicago 3 Min Read

A third former Northwestern University football player filed a lawsuit claiming the school fostered a culture of hazing and abuse.

The former player, identified as John Doe 3, filed a lawsuit in Cook County through his attorney Patrick Salvi Jr.

Salvi filed two more lawsuits this week related to the ongoing hazing scandal at the Evanston school. They are the only known lawsuits filed against the university in connection with the allegations. Over a dozen other former players said they hired lawyers.

“Our clients are coming forward with their stories now because they want to see institutional change so that future generations don’t have to suffer what they experienced,” Salvi said in a statement. “We’re probably just scratching the surface on how widespread this misconduct has been throughout the Northwestern athletic department.”

The new lawsuit does not detail the new abuse allegations. John Doe 3 was a student athlete at the university from 2018 until last year, similar to the first two other plaintiffs.

  • Former Northwestern football players go public with claims of a “culture” of hazing and abuse

  • Former football player sues Pat Fitzgerald, Northwest leader in hazing scandal

  • Eight former Northwestern football players hire an attorney over a possible hazing lawsuit

  • Northwestern fires football coach Pat Fitzgerald

The lawsuits allege that university executives knowingly enabled a culture of hazing that involved sexual abuse and racism. The abuse allegedly included dry-jumping in the locker room; forcing the underclasses to bear crawling naked; pressuring black players to change their hairstyles; and forcing players to drink protein drinks until they felt sick.

The lawsuits target university leaders and former football coach Patrick Fitzgerald, who was fired after the allegations came to light. Fitzgerald’s attorney Dan Webb criticized the lawsuits for not offering any evidence.

“These student athletes have committed to Northwestern to play varsity sports at a Big 10 school,” Salvi said. “The athletes who have worked all their lives for that honor, and their families, were promised that they would receive a world-class education and have the opportunity to develop their skills in a safe environment.

“But when they came in and were subjected to this abuse, it wasn’t easy for them to ‘speak out,'” she said.

The fallout began July 7 when the university released a summary of a commissioned report on hazing allegations against the soccer team. The university initially suspended Fitzgerald for two weeks. But he was fired days later after the school newspaper ran an article detailing the players’ alleged abuse.

  • READ: Sun-Times coverage of Northwest hazing scandal

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