Department of Education investigates women’s basketball coach on sexual harassment claim

first_img Comments The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a Title IX sexual harassment complaint made by former Syracuse University women’s basketball player Lynnae Lampkins against head coach Quentin Hillsman. In the complaint, Lampkins accuses Hillsman of inappropriate text messaging and touching. Lampkins, a junior who is no longer on the team, is still a student at SU, according to the SU student directory. ‘The ordeal of receiving text messages that I felt were offensive, the inappropriate touching and the coach asking me during warm up of the first game of last season to come into the men’s locker room alone with the lights out to sign a so-called contract caused a great deal of anxiety for me,’ Lampkins wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Orange. Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw confirmed Friday the office is investigating SU. ‘The complaint is currently under investigation,’ Bradshaw wrote in an e-mail to The Daily Orange.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text SU Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin Quinn told The Daily Orange on Friday that the university ‘did a full investigation’ and there was ‘no basis for the allegation against Coach Hillsman.’ The complaint was filed last summer, he said. In a statement, Quinn said SU used ‘outside counsel’ for the investigation, but at this time he had no comment on who had been hired for that outside counsel and how much the university paid for the service. The Department of Education received the complaint on Dec. 9, according to Bradshaw’s e-mail. The complaint was filed after Lampkins and her father, Gary Lampkins, determined a complaint they previously filed to SU did not result in a fair investigation, according to Lampkins’ e-mail. ‘My father’s position was and is that the filing of the Dept. of Ed. complaint was necessary since the university did not conduct an unbiased investigation,’ Lampkins wrote in the e-mail. According to Lampkins, Gary stated in the complaint: ‘The evidence substantiates a deliberate circumvention and thus violation of Title IX regulations by the university. This was achieved by not utilizing the codified grievance procedures of the university to investigate matters of sexual harassment as mandated by said law.’ SU’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy states, ‘Syracuse University defines sexual harassment as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that relates to the gender or sexual identity of an individual and that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating or hostile environment for study, work or social living.’ Hillsman denied the allegations Friday in a statement released by the university. He was back on the sidelines coaching the Orange on Saturday in the Carrier Dome against South Florida. In his postgame press conference, he echoed the sentiments of his previous statement when he was asked if the allegations were a distraction during the game. ‘It wasn’t because the allegations are untrue,’ Hillsman said. ‘They’re very hurtful to my family, to our players and to this university.’ Quinn responded Sunday night to Lampkins’ specific allegation of Hillsman taking her into the Dome locker room. ‘This accusation is untrue,’ Quinn said in a statement provided to The Daily Orange. ‘There is no ‘men’s locker room’ at the Carrier Dome during home women’s games. The area in question is used as the home coaches’ office. All staff, male and female, have access, it is active during games and the lights are always on. Also, it is normal for coaches from all sports to ask players to sign forms, paperwork, etc. throughout the year.’ Hillsman addressed the inappropriate text message Lampkins accused him of sending through a statement Friday. ‘I utilize text messaging to communicate with our players and staff,’ Hillsman said, ‘and the text in question was sent to multiple players and reflects my sentiments about the team, not a specific player. If you know me, you know that I am very enthusiastic about the game of basketball and our players. I regret if my enthusiasm was misinterpreted.’ The opening of the investigation does not imply that the Office of Civil Rights has made a determination on the merits of the case, Bradshaw said. He added the office will ‘collect and analyze all relevant evidence from the parties involved to develop its findings.’ In addition to her sexual harassment claim, Lampkins also cited other instances of discomfort that were contained within the complaint. ‘In the women’s basketball program there were instances in addition to the sexual harassment, of mental, physical and emotional abuse which were contained in the complaint that was filed with the university,’ she wrote in the e-mail. [email protected] [email protected] — Managing Editor Kathleen Ronayne contributed reporting to this article.  Published on January 27, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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