Sunday, November 11, 2007

Title IX Lawsuit Filed Against San Diego State

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Deena Deardurff Schmidt, recently fired from her position as head coach of the San Diego State swimming and diving team, has filed a Title IX sex discrimination suit against San Diego State, "alleging several years of mistreatment at the school, including being sexually harassed by an unidentified booster."

One example of alleged discrimination is the University's decision to close the pool for seven years during construction of a new facility. During that time, the swimming and diving team (a women's team) had to practice and compete in inconvenient and allegedly "dangerous" off-campus locations. She also alleges gender inequities in pay, practice times and administrative support, and that the university told her to "deal with" the sexual advances of a booster who promised to make a donation in exchange for sex.

The article points out that SDSU swimmers finished last in their conference for the last five seasons, which suggests that the University might defend its decision to fire Schmidt as performance-related. But further complicating the case is the fact that Schmidt has cancer and was scheduled for surgery when the Athletic Department told her that her contract would not be renewed. The department apparently lacked confidence that she would be able to take the team to the "national level."

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