Three former women’s head coaches with the University of Minnesota-Duluth are suing the school, alleging discrimination under Title VII and Title IX and saying they were fired because they are female and gay.
It also says the women were paid less and had smaller budgets than their male counterparts on the men’s hockey, baseball and basketball teams. Wiles claims in May 2014, she met with vice chancellor Lisa Erwin about disparate treatment in the athletic department, discrimination on the basis of gender and concerns regarding perceived bigotry by Berlo.
June 1: Miller’s contract expired. “It’s important. It’s necessary and it’s the right thing to do, so we’re doing it”.
The alleged discrimination included frequent hate-mail from within the school’s athletic department and Miller and Banford’s exclusion from a community golf event.
They told her the decision was “strictly financial” and that the university simply couldn’t afford her salary, the lawsuit says.
December 11: Berlo called Miller, again stating her options were to retire or resign.
The lawsuit also alleges Miller and Banford, who are Canadian, were discriminated against due to their nationality. “I’m concerned about what this says to society about the value of women”. On information and belief, the University reversed course and made a decision to attempt to retain Banford after negative publicity arising from Shannon Miller’s non-renewal. Banford also alleges Finnerty held softball and hockey equipment “hostage”. The complaint also contends that men’s programs had larger budgets and perks that weren’t available to the women.
The lawsuit accuses the university of various counts of illegal discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, and unlawful retaliation.
But Miller said working at UMD became intolerable after Berlo’s arrival from Notre Dame in April 2013. We continue to refute the allegations and claims of discrimination and will aggressively defend ourselves in the lawsuit.
In a statement, Black said the school had handled the issues “professionally and appropriately”.
“UMD continues its focus and commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, and I am personally committed to continuing an environment where diversity is embraced”, he said.
The women’s hockey program, founded by Miller, won five national titles under her direction. Black also cited recruiting and declining attendance as factors. Kingsbury, from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., was hired by Hockey Canada as a director of women’s national teams.
Banford, the former softball coach, and Wiles, the former women’s basketball coach, declined to speak with the media through their attorneys. Her softball teams went 332-169 and earned four NCAA Division II regional tournament berths.
“Pretty remarkable set of circumstances that bring us all here”. “Theses are attitudes that shouldn’t exist in the United States in 2015, and it’s up to leadership to make sure these attitudes are wiped out not just in theory, but in practice”. That, Siegel said, is false – that Banford received what amounted to a “termination letter” from the school. They plan to seek back and front pay as well as damages.
“Mr. Berlo seems to be one of these equal opportunity bigots”, quipped Dan Siegel, Miller’s attorney. They intend to file a discrimination complaint against the university with the United States Board of Education.