- Clif Reeder/Daily
BY JILLIAN BERMAN
Daily News Editor
Published November 9, 2009
University Athletic Director Bill Martin apologized yesterday for allegedly assaulting two students who work for the Department of Public Safety at home football games on two separate occasions.
At the Michigan football games against Notre Dame and Delaware State, Martin allegedly made physical contact with the DPS staffers after he was initially denied entry into the Regents Guest Area, according to a DPS incident report.
In a statement released late yesterday, Martin said that confusion over changes in DPS protocol was to blame for the incident and that he had apologized to the two staffers for his behavior.
“It was a frustrating situation, and one I should have handled differently,” Martin wrote in the statement.
The two victims will not be pressing charges and DPS has closed the file, according to University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham.
The first incident occurred at the Notre Dame game on Sept. 12. LSA sophomore Jackie Turner told DPS she was assigned to work the north stairwell of the Regents Guest Area to make sure only patrons with a Regents Area wristband gained entry to the area.
Just before halftime, Turner was in charge of opening doors to let patrons out of the area when three males wearing University of Michigan polo shirts attempted to come through the doors, according to the report.
Turner told DPS she stepped in front of the doorway and told the man in the front of the group that she needed to see his pass to let him in. In response, the man, Martin, put his hand on her shoulder and said “Honey, I’m the athletic director,” pushing her just enough so she would get out of his way.
According to the report, Turner decided to report the incident after she heard fellow employees talking about a similar incident at the Oct. 17 game against Delaware State.
Arif Kahn, an Eastern Michigan student and DPS employee, told DPS he was assigned to work the south stairwell of the Regents Guest Area during the Delaware State game.
Shortly after the game ended, a man and woman, both elderly, tried to enter the area and walked past him “as if he wasn’t there,” according to the report. Kahn said he put his hand on the door and asked to see their passes. In response, the man “forcibly grabbed” Kahn’s windbreaker and pushed him slightly.
The man then said, “I am the athletic director, I can go in,” according to the report.
After Kahn refused to allow the man into the area without the proper credentials, the man grabbed Kahn’s identification badge and asked to know his name. Kahn told DPS that a University Development Events staff member then identified the man as the athletic director and let him into the area.
University spokeswoman, Kelly Cunningham, wrote in an e-mail statement that the incident was the result of confusion over a new security policy and that DPS has closed the file.
“There was a situation at the stadium involving two University employees and Athletic Director Bill Martin,” she wrote. “The employees were part of a new security process for the stadium’s guest areas and they (one each, on two separate occasions) did not initially allow Martin – who was unaware of the new procedure – to enter. The change caused unnecessary confusion and we are working to improve the process for future games. The employees were satisfied with the follow up and the matter has been resolved.”
In the statement released yesterday, Martin said that he had apologized to the two employees for the incidents.
“I have communicated with both employees to discuss the situation and express my regret,” Martin wrote. “They were just doing their jobs.”
On Oct. 21, Martin announced he would step down as athletic director effective Sept. 4, 2010.