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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 30, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 53
Lesbian assistant coach sues Drake University for discrimination
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Lesbian assistant coach sues Drake University for discrimination

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Lesbian assistant basketball coach has filed a federal lawsuit against Drake University, claiming she was forced out of her job after coming out.

Courtney Graham was assistant coach of the women's basketball team at Drake, located near Des Moines, Iowa. In her complaint, she says that after she brought her then-girlfriend, now her wife, to a game in November 2014, head coach Jennie Baranczyk slowly stripped her of her duties and finally asked her to resign.

Baranczyk is also a defendant in the lawsuit, which charges sexual orientation discrimination, two counts of retaliation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and harassment.

According to Graham, Baranczyk told her she 'was not acting like herself' and forced her to take time off shortly after Baranczyk learned of her sexual orientation.

Graham also charges that she was subsequently left out of team meetings and scouting trips and subjected to hostile interactions at work.

Graham said she was asked to resign in May 2015 without reason, and that she ultimately resigned under duress roughly three weeks later.

Drake released a statement on December 28 denying Graham's allegations.

According to the university, Graham made similar claims in a complaint to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which subsequently dismissed her complaint.

'Drake University and head women's basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk have a strong commitment to diversity, tolerance, and nondiscrimination,' the Drake statement said. 'Consistent with university policy regarding personnel matters and out of respect to the parties involved, we will not provide further comment.'

In 2014, Drake scored two out of five possible stars on the Campus Climate Index, a national ranking of universities on LGBT inclusiveness. The rating questionnaire was filled out by Drake students, because the university's administration did not even bother to respond to a survey request from the Index.

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