New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

HR dismissed complaints about former athletics director, sources say

A human resources representative at NYU’s athletics department allegedly told multiple staff members to “just suck it up” when they brought sexual harassment and misconduct complaints against the department’s former director.
(Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

Sexual harassment and misconduct complaints against former NYU Athletics director Stuart Robinson were dismissed by a human resources representative for the university’s athletics department, multiple sources close to the department told WSN. The representative allegedly told staff who brought complaints against Robinson to “just suck it up” or that “Stuart can do whatever he wants.”

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous due to job security concerns, said the human resources representative, Senior Associate Athletics Director Matt Huck, knew about complaints against Robinson for years. However, some said that Huck minimized their concerns and shared their complaints with Robinson, leaving them feeling discouraged about reporting Robinson’s misconduct.

“If you went to Matt, anything that was said was immediately told to Stuart,” one of the sources said. “There was a lack of trust.”

University spokesperson Joseph Tirella said NYU’s human resources department has contacted athletics staff, and told them they can reach out to the university’s human resources staff at any time. Huck told WSN that “we don’t discuss our personnel matters” when reached for comment at his office, and did not respond to multiple other requests for comment. 

“If we had to stand up and say that Matt Huck was doing a good job,” another source said, “I don’t think anyone would stand up.”

Over the summer, the university placed Robinson on administrative leave following sexual harassment allegations and broke ties with him last month. Before Robinson was hired, he was named in a 2018 Title IX lawsuit filed by a former coach who worked with Robinson at the State University of New York, New Paltz. The case alleges that Robinson made sexual comments toward the coach and refused to allocate equal resources to men’s and women’s athletic teams. 

NYU has said it was not aware of the 2018 lawsuit before it was reported in WSN. However, former New Paltz student athlete Rachael Purtell said that when she learned that the university hired Robinson, she called NYU’s Title IX office to inform it of her own experience of sexual harassment involving him. The university has declined to comment on questions regarding Purtell’s call.

A few days before Robinson left NYU, athletics staff were informed of coming changes to the department’s human resources, including Huck’s removal as the department’s representative, according to multiple sources close to NYU Athletics.

Tirella also said that NYU has begun a search for a new athletics director and started contacting several search firms, although there is no current timeline for when the search will be completed. For the time being, Senior Vice President for University Life Jason Pina has taken over Robinson’s role.

Contact Ania Keenan at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ania Keenan
Ania Keenan, Features Editor
Ania Keenan is a sophmore double majoring in Journalism and Data Science. She is from California and loves black coffee, long walks, writing poetry and reading non-fiction. When she is not working on the next features investigation, you can find her running along West Side Highway, listening to audiobooks or complaining about the cold.

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