Three former coaches with the University of Minnesota Duluth filed a complaint on Monday with the U.S. District Court against the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
The three coaches, Annette Wiles, Jen Banford and Shannon Miller, represented by their lawyers put together an eight-count complaint that was forwarded to the court. The main allegations regard discrimination based on their gender, nationality and sexual orientation. Wiles, Banford and Miller are openly gay, a fact that never proved problematic until their contracts weren’t renewed anymore on false accounts, according to the plaintiffs.
Shannon Miller is the coach who led the Bulldogs in no less than five NCAA national championships. Jen Banford trained the softball team, while Annette Wiles is the former coach of the University’s women’s basketball team.
However, none of the three women saw their contracts renewed at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In coach Miller’s case, when the ending of her contract was decided, the University officials quoted a budget deficit. Nonetheless, the allegations brought by the plaintiffs say otherwise.
Both Banford and Miller claim that the University of Minnesota Duluth did not renew their contracts due to the fact that they are Canadian, female and gay. Wiles is also claiming that her forcefully leaving the University in June was due to her sexual orientation and gender. On top of these allegations, the women also allege that they were discriminated against based on their age. Particularly, Miller and Wiles hold these allegations to be true.
During a press conference, Shannon Miller stated:
“Sexism and homophobia are alive and well at the University of Minnesota”.
The remark is also mirroring allegations that due to their sexual orientation, they three former coaches suffered unjust retaliation from University officials. Claims of harassment were not taken seriously, nor dealt with accordingly. At the same time, the three former coaches were paid under the level of male peers leading the respective male teams.
Wiles, Banford and Miller are looking for a jury trial. At the end, they would like to see compensation for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees, compensatory damage, as well as back and front pay.
The Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lendley Black stated that the university is now prepared to handle the matter in a legal manner.
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