Members of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents held a closed meeting Friday afternoon, in which they talked about how to move ahead with a “thorough, independent and transparent” investigation into the death of a student at the College Park campus last fall.
The meeting comes after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for an “immediate” investigation into the way the University of Maryland handled an outbreak of adenovirus.
On Friday, board Chair Linda Gooden read a statement in which the board members repeated their sympathy for the family of 18-year-old Olivia Paregol, the freshman student who died after contracting adenovirus at the school last November.
In the board’s statement, members said that they hoped to meet with Paregol’s family and that they would discuss ways to work with University of Maryland President Wallace Loh on a probe into how the school dealt with the circumstances surrounding Paregol’s death.
The investigation will also look at how the school has addressed health and safety issues in the dorms at the College Park campus.
Hogan’s spokesman, Michael Ricci, issued a statement saying the move by the Board of Regents “is certainly a step in the right direction toward getting answers for the Paregol family and for the U.Md. community.”
Ricci added, “The governor believes that the Board of Regents is the appropriate body to conduct this review.”
But Paregol’s father, Ian Paregol, is not so sure.
“We are concerned about the regents’ stated plan to work with President Loh and the executive team” on the investigation, Ian Paregol told WTOP. “I don’t know that Wallace Loh and his staff can be expected to honestly represent what happened.”
Ian Paregol said his concerns spring from his experience and The Washington Post report that offered a detailed timeline of how the University of Maryland dealt with conditions in the dorms on campus, the outbreak of adenovirus and how the school held off for weeks on reporting the outbreak to students and families.
He added that any investigation needs to take a look at conditions at the school, and how issues related to student health and safety are handled, including the case of Jordan McNair, the freshman football player who died after collapsing at a team workout last year.
State Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk has also said she is weighing legislation to require mandated reporting of outbreaks of the adenovirus. She said reports about the delay in informing students and families about the existence of the virus on campus prompted her to consider legislative action.