The leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly’s higher education committee want UConn coach Jim Calhoun reprimanded for his tirade at a freelance journalist who questioned his $1.6 million salary.
Sen. Mary Ann Handley, D-Manchester, and Rep. Roberta Willis, D-Lakeville, said Thursday that Calhoun’s outburst on Saturday does not reflect well on him or the state’s flagship university.
“His recent behavior was unacceptable and we request that the university take appropriate disciplinary action to reinforce the high ethical standards we have come to expect from our flagship institution,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to UConn President Michael J. Hogan.
In a statement, Hogan called Calhoun a “valued member of the UConn community” and said the reporter was also to blame for the controversy. “The question he was asked about his salary was perfectly fair, although the reporter, as Coach Calhoun suggested, might have found a more appropriate and less provocative setting for his inquiry,” Hogan said. “I am sure that we all regret the controversy, including Coach Calhoun, and I can assure you that we will continue to encourage all members of the UConn community to resist temptation and treat others in a judicious and respectful manner, no matter what the circumstances.”
He is the highest-paid state employee in Connecticut. Late Thursday, Calhoun issued a statement and said his comments were “misinterpreted” as being insensitive to the current economic climate. “I believe I have a duty, responsibility and obligation to support the state I love and the many people and organizations of Connecticut that are in need,” Calhoun said. “I look forward to continuing with the same amount of passion and commitment to assist people and causes that are important to me and my family.”
-- The Associated Press