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Archive for May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017 — A stunning victory

Over the last decade or so, if you were a male head coach at the University of Iowa, you lasted longer in your job, didn’t get fired for light and transient reasons, and you pretty much could do what you wanted, no matter what kinds of scandal or incident befell the student-athletes within the team.

Not so for a number of women within the Iowa family — chief amongst them Tracey Griesbaum, who was fired mysteriously only weeks before the 2014 season.

Associate athletic director Jane Meyer pointed this out within the athletic department, and was fired, partially because she and the fired former field hockey coach were in a relationship.

But today, a jury of eight took a shockingly short period of time to reach a unanimous judgment for Meyer against her former employer for the amount of $1.43 million.

In other words, the jury did not buy the University of Iowa’s contention that Meyer had been subpar in her job, nor did they buy current Iowa athletic director Gary Barta’s contention that she was a disruption.

As we mentioned yesterday, there is a social component to this within the community of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and their allies.

But even more basic than this is the way that the University of Iowa and its old-boy network were allowed to ride herd on the women who were coaches and administrators at a taxpayer-funded university.

And a jury today — in a socially conservative state — would not have it. According to news reports, the jury found for Meyer in all five phases of the suit: gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, retaliation, violation of equal pay statutes and violation of whistleblower rules.

Appeals are sure to follow in this particular action, but there are more court cases coming. Greisbaum’s lawsuit against the University of Iowa is scheduled to take place beginning June 5 in state court, and there is a potential federal lawsuit scheduled for sometime in 2018 which could very well speak to the pattern of behavior Barta oversaw in the firing of at least six female coaches.

These firings, if today’s verdict is an indicator, would appear to run afoul of Constitutional competency.

This cannot end well for the University of Iowa.