Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren Addresses the Big Ten Media Schools
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kevin Warren, Big Ten Conference Commissioner and American attorney, told a crowd of Big Ten journalism students and professors on Nov. 1 that hate speech and the treatment of individuals will continue to be addressed in the Big Ten footprint.
“We’ve taken a leadership role in equality and fairness and equity,” Warren said to a virtual crowd of fewer than 50 attendees on a private Zoom call.
Warren serves as the sixth Commissioner and first Black Commissioner in Big Ten Conference history. After being voted unanimously into the role by the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors in 2019, Warren established the Big Ten Equality Coalition in June 2020.
The Coalition, created in response to the death of George Floyd, partnered with the Big Ten Network to form a panel with the Anti-Defamation League with prominent figures across the Big Ten campuses to raise awareness of fair treatment and hate speech.
“That’s on the rise across our country, but we’re trying to make sure that we have platforms where people feel comfortable to communicate,” Warren said.
The wake of the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s hate speech email scandal within the National Football League sparked questions about how the issue is handled at the collegiate level. Warren stressed the conference’s continued commitment to educating its students, athletes and staff about proper decorum.
Warren emphasized Big Ten academic rigor as another priority and criterion for the conference’s student athletes attending one of its 14 institutions.
“We cannot at all lower our requirement of our academic standards to make sure that our student athletes are here,” Warren said. “They are on target to graduate in a timely manner just like other students.”
The Big Ten plans to expand various sports, including the women’s wrestling program that was recently launched at the University of Iowa. Warren shared his excitement about the new implementations in the works.
“I think that anytime that we can provide our student athletes on campuses with an opportunity to be able to compete and get a world class education, I’m all for it.”
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.