On Friday, the Rhodes Trust provided its account of how Patrick Witt’s ’12 candidacy for the Rhodes Scholarship ended.
According to the Rhodes’ statement, which University Spokesman Tom Conroy confirmed as accurate on Sunday, Yale told the Trust that Witt learned on Nov. 8 that his candidacy would require re-endorsement in light of a complaint lodged against him. But Witt told the News last Wednesday that he learned of his need for re-endorsement on either the evening of Nov. 9 or morning of Nov. 10 in a phone call with Katherine Dailinger, Yale’s director for national fellowships. Since the Rhodes released its conflicting report, Witt’s spokesman, Mark Magazu, has said Witt stands by his timeline.
Despite the discrepancy between Witt’s account and the Trust’s account, Magazu maintains that the Rhodes statement does not contradict that the quarterback chose to play in The Game before learning his candidacy had been called into question.
According to an email Magazu provided the News, Daniel Promislow, secretary for the Rhodes district that includes Witt’s home state of Georgia, notified Witt on Nov. 8 that his interview date could not be moved. Witt said he decided he would play in The Game that same day, though he said he did not tell members of the Athletics Department until the next day.
“Patrick’s statements are affirmed,” Magazu said. “He withdrew of his own accord in order to join his team on the field at The Game.”
The Rhodes statement said the interviewing committee in Georgia was never told of the complaint or the need for re-endorsement to avoid biasing their decision if Yale were to re-endorse Witt.
The Rhodes statement refers to the complaint against Witt only as a “complaint” and does not term it “informal,” of “sexual assault,” or as filed by a female student with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct — details of the complaint that the New York Times first reported Jan. 26. According to the statement, American Secretary of the Trust Elliot Gerson LAW ’79 spoke with Witt by phone on Nov. 3 and told him the Trust knew of the complaint.
Magazu also acknowledged the “informal complaint” in a press release the day after the Times released its first story, but said it did not result in disciplinary action and was not placed on Witt’s permanent record.
The outline provided by the Trust states that Gerson told Yale that Witt’s candidacy required re-endorsement on Nov. 4, three days after the Trust informed Dailinger it had learned of the complaint. According to the Trust, Dailinger then told Gerson on Nov. 7 that she was waiting for Witt to “call her back.”
In a Saturday email, Magazu said Yale’s delay in notifying Witt of his need for re-endorsement was “the source of the confusion” in the conflicting narratives of how his candidacy ended. Witt did not know of the Rhodes’ additional requirement when he was deciding whether he would attend the mandatory scholarship interview or play in the Yale-Harvard game, which were both scheduled for Nov. 19, Magazu said.
Conroy said the four-day delay occurred because Yale received notice of the need for re-endorsement from the Rhodes Trust late on Friday, Nov. 4, and did not reach out to Witt over the weekend.
Witt formally announced he would play in The Game in a Nov. 13 press release from Yale Athletics.