LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) — Greenberg Traurig, the law firm that was hired by New Mexico State University to conduct an internal investigation into the hazing allegations made by former NMSU men’s hoops player Deuce Benjamin, released an executive summary from its investigation on Wednesday.
“Our investigation focused on a programmatic review of NMSU’s anti-hazing policies and procedures. Based on that review, we make certain recommendations below. GT was not retained to investigate the 2023 Allegations themselves.” Greenberg Traurig wrote in its executive summary.
Greenberg Traurig also stated that NMSU’s Office of Institutional Equity and/or the Dean of Students Office is conducting that investigation, which is still ongoing. The law firm added that the hazing allegations are now the subject of a pending civil lawsuit and arbitration proceeding.
“Consequently, we do not render any conclusions or opinions at this time about whether (i) the 2023 Allegations are credible, (ii) NMSU’s existing policies and procedures to prevent hazing were adequate, or (iii) any person did not abide by those policies and procedures with respect to the 2023 Allegations.” Greenberg Traurig wrote in its executive summary.
Greenberg Traurig states that it reviewed several of New Mexico State University’s policies and interviewed multiple individuals that are part of the university’s staff. One of the names listed was New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia.
Greenberg Traurig left two recommendations on its executive summary for New Mexico State University with regards to its existing anti-hazing policies and procedures:
1. Training for All Students and Employees.
NMSU should retain an independent, third-party to assist NMSU review and, to the extent necessary, revise its existing training modules to include the latest education in hazing prevention and response. The hazing prevention and response training should be provided to all employees and students, including athletes and students participating in fraternities and sororities.
2. Investigation of and Response to Hazing Allegations by OIE, DOS, and/or
NMSU should retain an independent third-party to review the organizational effectiveness,
working relationships, and reporting structures of the relevant NMSU departments responsible for (i) hazing prevention and response training, and (ii) response to, and investigation of, hazing
allegations, which should include, without limitation, OIE (to the extent hazing allegations
implicate Title IX), DOS, and any other NMSU department in which the alleged hazing occurred.
On Wednesday, KTSM learned that NMSU had retained Lightfoot, Franklin and White LLC, a law firm based in Birmingham, Ala. It is the same firm that conducted an investigation at Penn State in 2012 following rape and sexual assault allegations against Jerry Sandusky that ultimately resulted in the firing of head coach Joe Paterno for his knowledge of what went on.
The law firm will arrive on campus on Thursday and begin its investigation into the entire NMSU athletic department, including interviews with athletes from every sport.