BREAKING: Coach Dan Jackson violates university policy, to complete relevant coursework and return to duties

Coach Dan Jackson, Athletic Director Candice Lee and Chancellor Daniel Diermeier released statements on Tuesday morning.


Arianna Santiago

A sold-out FirstBank stadium filled with a sea of orange and black, as photographed on Nov. 26, 2022 (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago).

Bryce Smith, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt released an update on assistant football coach Dan Jackson on Tuesday morning, including statements from Athletic Director Candice Lee, Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Jackson himself.

The internal review of Jackson’s post lasted over a month, ultimately determining that Jackson’s comment was not discriminatory nor “intended to target any group” despite being “hurtful.” Therefore, the Equal Opportunity and Access Office determined that Jackson’s comment did not violate Vanderbilt’s anti-harassment policy. However, it violated the Electronic Communications and Information Technology Resources policy for university staff, which prohibits “unprofessional communication that could negatively impact Vanderbilt’s reputation or interfere with Vanderbilt’s core mission.”

“Coach Jackson remained away from his duties and the athletics department for the remainder of the 2022 football season and is in the process of completing relevant educational work, including unconscious bias, inclusion and anti-discrimination sessions offered by campus and community resources, including EOA and the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” Lee’s statement reads. “He is also receiving coaching on leadership and social media use. These sessions will continue throughout the spring semester at minimum.”

Jackson released a statement in tandem with the Athletics release. He expressed remorse and denounced antisemitism, discrimination and bias. He stated that he was not aware of Ye’s recent discriminatory statements prior to commenting.

“A few weeks ago, I read a social media post made by a lifelong friend whom I’ve mentored for over 20 years,” Jackson said in his statement. “I interpreted his post as a statement asking for equality and fairness in media coverage of all individuals. Without knowledge of recent actions by the individuals mentioned in the original post, including Kanye West, I impulsively replied. My emotion surrounding mental health and athletes using their voice for positive change were at the forefront of my comment.”

In an email titled “Community message on antisemitism,” Diermeier similarly affirmed the university’s condemnation of antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. Alongside Lee, Diermeier expressed the need to utilize the situation as an opportunity for growth within the university community in terms of engaging in “healthy and civil discourse.”

“We recognize that we have more work to do and that creating a welcoming environment is a continuous effort based on learning and growing,” Diermeier said. “We are in discussion with the Jewish community and other groups to ensure that we are making strides in pursuit of our cherished values of inclusion, acceptance and belonging.”

On Nov. 4, Jackson appeared to support rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in a comment made from his personal Facebook account. The comment was captured by StopAntisemitism, an organization created to monitor and expose antisemitism in media. After coaching in the Nov. 5 game against South Carolina, Jackson was asked to “step back” from his duties on Nov. 7 while the EOAO conducted a review of his social media post.

“Kanye is two steps ahead of everyone,” Jackson’s comment read. “He’s not crazy. People try to silence him because he thinks for himself. People don’t want that. Rappers and athletes are taught they need to think the same as the media/politicians. If they have an opinion that is opposite the mainstream, they’re called crazy. More people need to wake up and speak their mind.”

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.