Stu­dents seek $1 mil­lion in dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL -

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Two stu­dents have filed a dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit against The Ever­green State Col­lege and its for­mer women’s bas­ket­ball coach Jen­nifer Schooler.

A com­plaint for dam­ages was filed by ShaMar­ica Scott and Linda Wil­son, both of Olympia, on Oct. 13 in U.S Dis­trict Court’s Western Wash­ing­ton dis­trict in Ta­coma, The Olympian re­ported.

In June, the women’s at­tor­ney, Ada Wong with AKW Law of Mount­lake Ter­race, filed a pre­req­ui­site tort claim that stated the women are claim­ing dam­ages of $500,000 each.

Scott and Wil­son are seek­ing dam­ages for “in­ten­tional in­flic­tion of emo­tional dis­tress, neg­li­gent in­flic­tion of emo­tional dis­tress and racial and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion dis­crim­i­na­tion,” ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent court doc­u­ments.

Schooler, who took over the women’s bas­ket­ball pro­gram at Ever­green in 2014, cited per­sonal rea­sons when she re­signed in De­cem­ber.

Scott was on the women’s bas­ket­ball team dur­ing the 2014-15 school year and “en­dured racially based dis­crim­i­na­tion, ep­i­thets, in­tim­i­da­tion and pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion” from Schooler, ac­cord­ing to the claim.

It states that the coach used the term “ghetto” and em­ployed race-bait­ing tac­tics to mo­ti­vate her team with state­ments such as “If you think that white stu­dents feel in­tim­i­dated by black play­ers, they don’t.”

The law­suit also claims on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, Schooler ha­rassed Scott about the woman she was dat­ing and made of­fen­sive re­marks about her Gay Pride T-shirt.

The court doc­u­ments in­clude a copy of the col­lege’s re­port from an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Scott’s com­plaints by the col­lege’s af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion and equal op­por­tu­nity of­fi­cer Lorie Mastin.

In the May 2016 re­port, Mastin wrote that her in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that Schooler more likely than not vi­o­lated the col­lege’s non-dis­crim­i­na­tion pol­icy with her use of “racial deroga­tory lan­guage.” How­ever, Mastin’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion did not find sex-based dis­crim­i­na­tion and ha­rass­ment re­lated to Scott’s other claims.

The sec­ond plain­tiff, Wil­son, played on the women’s bas­ket­ball team dur­ing the 2015-16 school year.

Dur­ing a Novem­ber 2015 meet­ing, Schooler pres­sured Wil­son to hold play­ers who were dat­ing team­mates ac­count­able by telling them that their ac­tions neg­a­tively af­fected the en­tire team, court doc­u­ments state.

“De­fen­dant Schooler also lever­aged Plain­tiff Wil­son’s tu­ition waiver and schol­ar­ship fund­ing if Wil­son did not com­ply,” the com­plaint states. “The con­stant pres­sure to broad­cast de­tails of her team­mates’ pri­vate lives in ex­change for an ath­letic schol­ar­ship or tu­ition waiver was more than Plain­tiff Wil­son could han­dle, leav­ing her with no choice but to re­sign from the team.”

The col­lege’s in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Wil­son’s claim found that Schooler’s ac­tions more likely than not vi­o­lated the col­lege’s non-dis­crim­i­na­tion and sex­ual ha­rass­ment poli­cies.

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