A FRIGHTENING DIAGNOSIS

THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR SAID ASU ADMINISTRATORS WERE ENDANGERING THE HEALTH OF STUDENT ATHLETES. THE DIRECTOR GOT FIRED. THE DANGER'S STILL THERE.

Although there is no indication that any impropriety had occurred, Zonner said, that arrangement created the real possibility that a boosterish specialist might be inclined to consider the school's won-lost record more than the needs of an injured player.

"Some of these specialists are significant athletic department boosters, which I feel is an inherent conflict of interest," Zonner wrote. "All of this puts ASU in a high-risk situation, especially when 'blue chip/high visibility' student athletes are being treated. The needs of the athletic department and the patient can, at times, be mutually exclusive. Presently, which needs a [SMAT] specialist will attend to first and foremost cannot be guaranteed to be those of the patient."
Zonner said he had tried to work the situation out with the athletic department. "However," he wrote, "patients and families continue to suffer the consequences of the present medical care system, while the frequency of ethically questionable events is increasing."

For the next several months, Harris, Vollen and various other administrators attempted to hash out a new medical policy. Drafts circulated, revisions followed revisions, but no agreement was struck.

Relations between Vollen and Harris were at rock bottom, and Vollen sensed that she was losing the battle.

"Problem: Charles appears to have authority to run everyone in circles," Vollen messaged the general counsel's office in January of this year. "I have no time. Solution: Up to you. I have some ideas. Some are legal and nonviolent."
Vollen says she was repeatedly told by Wilkinson and other administrators not to challenge Harris, to let the athletic director do as he wished.

Finally, she says, it was time to raise the ante.
@rule:
@body:On February 26, Vollen asked for a meeting with Provost Milton Glick, a meeting that was to include her boss, Vice President Christine Wilkinson.

At the meeting, Vollen says, she laid out her complaints, explained the alleged improprieties of Charles Harris' handling of athletic medical care and charged Wilkinson with allowing Harris to continue his questionable activities unchecked.

Vollen says she told Glick that "essentially, Wilkinson was making me do things that were illegal, and was retaliating against me for refusing to do them."

"I said I can no longer play this game," Vollen recalls. "Wilkinson freaked out."
When Wilkinson attempted to dodge the issues, Vollen says, "I said you have not attended to these issues honestly, and you have tried to cover them up, and I think the university should know what's going on."

At that point, Vollen now knows, her career at ASU was over. She had become a whistle-blower, and the clock would run out on her quickly.

Within a week, she says, she was asked by Wilkinson to resign. When she refused, she was told that her contract would not be renewed. She was suspended from her duties and moved to a new office away from the Student Health Center.

Although given no responsibilities, Vollen did not waste her time. She had already contacted an attorney and spent the ensuing weeks compiling documentation of her tenure at ASU, including her jousts with Charles Harris.

On June 30, when her contract expired, Vollen says she had already amassed most of the documentation she wanted to take with her when she left.

Stashed at her attorney's office are eight file boxes of documents--memos, printouts of electronic computer mail and miscellaneous other records--including Coor's notes from their March meeting.

But some information remained on the hard drive of a computer in what Vollen called her "Siberia office."

On July 1, when she went to clean out the computer drive, Vollen says, she was barred from entering her office.

What ensued was a bizarre chain of events that scared the living hell out of Vollen, and convinced her that ASU would play hardball to make her go away.

The computer she had been using belonged to ASU, but the printer in the office was Vollen's personal property. Computer and printer, records show, were moved back to the Student Health Center during the first week of July, even as Vollen and her attorney were trying to gain access to the computer.

Vollen and her attorney negotiated with ASU attorneys, finally winning agreement to let her go in and copy files off the hard drive.

But then, on July 7, the computer and printer disappeared from the locked office where they had been stored. ASU police found no signs of forced entry into the office.

According to police reports, ASU officials identified Vollen as the prime suspect, even though she had already won permission to get to the computer records she wanted.

Three days later, Vollen was packing her van to leave town and return to her home in Wisconsin. She had been staying at a local hotel for the previous couple of weeks. She did not know the ASU police were on her trail.

Police located Vollen at her hotel. Three cops--two from ASU and one from Tempe--arrived at the hotel and took her into custody. She was handcuffed and taken to the ASU police station, where her van was also towed.

For more than six hours, Vollen was held while police obtained a search warrant to go through her van.

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