The future of Matt Lauer’s 2009 Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award remains unknown after sexual assault and harassment allegations against him surfaced last week.
Klein College of Media and Communication Dean David Boardman said he plans to organize a meeting to discuss Lauer’s award.
Boardman wrote in an email to The Temple News that the college is “monitoring the situation as details emerge” about the allegations.
A woman who worked with Lauer told NBC executives that Lauer locked her in his office and sexually assaulted her in 2001, the New York Times reported.
The woman told the New York Times that she feared she would lose her job if she reported the incident in 2001. NBC fired Lauer after 20 years of hosting the “Today” show last week.
Lauer is just one of the dozens of high profile men who have fallen from grace after sexual assault, harassment or misconduct allegations surfaced.
The Lew Klein Awards began in 2001 in order to celebrate and honor achievements in the media. There are 17 individuals awarded the Excellence in the Media honor and 132 alumni inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame, according to its website.
“I don’t go back further with anyone in this room than I go back with Lew Klein,” Lauer said in his acceptance speech at the 2009 Lew Klein Awards.
Lauer’s first job was for Gateway Communications, a TV company with four stations on the East Coast. Klein was the president of the company.
Lauer isn’t the first individual honored at the Lew Klein Awards to later face controversy or criminal allegations.
Bill Conlin, a 1961 alumnus and former Philadelphia Daily News columnist, was inducted into the Lew Klein Alumni Hall of Fame in the fall of 2011.
Shortly after the awards, three women and a man alleged Conlin sexually abused them as children in the 1970s, the Inquirer reported in December 2011. Conlin retired from the Daily News just days after the allegations surfaced.
Conlin was editor-in-chief of The Temple News during his time at the university and worked at the Daily News for four decades. His name is still listed on the Lew Klein Alumni Hall of Fame website, despite allegations.
Conlin, who died in 2014, was never charged for sexual abuse because the statute of limitations expired, according to NJ.com.
Shortly after Brian Williams received his 2014 Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award, he was suspended from NBC Nightly News for falsely reporting that in 2003 he was inside a helicopter that was attacked in Iraq. It was proven that Williams was in a different helicopter than the one that was attacked, The Temple News reported in 2015.
Boardman told The Temple News in 2015 that the college did not need to revoke his award because the fabricated story did not negate Williams’ past work.
Justine Freed, a freshman advertising major, said she is “on the fence” on whether these men should get their awards revoked.
“The best thing that happens is almost like erasing the person. You might as well just take it away,” she added. “Temple should do everything they can to show that they are in support of the victims.”
“It may tarnish the Lew Klein name and the school,” said senior media studies and production major Nick Pfaff. “It’s their name, it’s their school, it’s their award. They have the right to take it away or not.”