UPDATE: According to the Belmont Vision:
Belmont University released a second statement late Friday afternoon regarding “the conclusion of Coach Lisa Howe’s employment at Belmont University.”
According to the statement, the university and Howe agree that she “did not ‘resign’ from her employment. Neither was she dismissed.”
UPDATE: There is a petition on Change.org now to demand that Belmont make their campus more accepting and inclusive of gay students, faculty, and staff. As of this moment, there are 195 signatures and counting.
UPDATE: Jezebel picked up the story and gave me some link love.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to Belmont Vision, the campus newspaper at Belmont. They have ongoing coverage of Howe’s “resignation”.
UPDATE: If you want to let the administration at Belmont know that you don’t like way that Coach Howe has been treated, contact them here:
- Athletic Director Mike Strickland: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Associate Director of Compliance John Langdon: email@example.com
- President Robert Fisher: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Current students should e-mail the provost, too: email@example.com
As my buddy Brandon says, “If everyone speaks up they will not be able to ignore you.”
Or something like that. According to Belmont (which is in Nashville), the coach resigned when her same-sex relationship came to light. Of course, as this article says, she was first dismissed by the university after disclosing to her players that she and her partner were expecting a child.
And Belmont really, really, really wants you to know that Coach Lisa Howe made this decision on her own without any prodding or pushing by Belmont (emphasis in quote is mine):
Belmont athletics director Mike Strickland released an official statement: “Women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe has informed the university of her intent to conclude her employment with Belmont. This was a decision Coach Howe made. Belmont is so grateful for the work Coach Howe has done and her commitment to women’s soccer and Belmont athletics.”
But, it turns out, that Howe’s players don’t seem to think that Howe left voluntarily:
Erica Carter, a senior on the team, said Howe told her and her roommate Ashley Hudak, a junior on the team, Tuesday that athletics department officials had given her the choice to resign or be terminated because she had told the team her partner was pregnant with a baby due in May.
According to Carter, Howe had asked the university repeatedly to let her tell her players about her impending motherhood but they ignored or refused her request. She did it anyway. The captain of the team was told that Belmont basically has a DADT policy when it comes to gays and lesbians on their staff – you can be gay but you aren’t allowed to talk about it at work:
Team captain Sari Lin said she met with Strickland on Tuesday and he told her Howe had violated a university policy pertaining to individual sexuality.
“He basically said we have the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and when she told us about the pregnancy, it violated that,” Lin said. “She was telling us what her sexual preference is. He said you can hide your sexuality, but you can’t hide a baby. He pretty much told me that once the baby was born she was going to get fired anyway, so it’s better to do it sooner than later.”
Ouch. Seriously, ouch. Or, rather, holy shit. These women on this team are so brave to tell this side of the story.
In case you are wondering, the Tennessee Humans Right Act doesn’t seem to think that gay rights = human rights, as there is “no protection based on sexual orientation. In the area of employment and public accommodation, the THRA protects against discrimination based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability and age (older than 40).”
As one blogger in Nashville wrote, “So, if you can’t quite believe that things get better, especially in the face of news like this, know, at least, that you are not alone.”
And in related blogging, please check out Fannie’s Room post on Women’s Sports and the Lavendar Menace that she wrote a couple of days ago. Fitting, really.
[Thanks to my friend, Brandon, a Belmont alum who is upset about this injustice, who posted multiple articles about this on his Facebook feed today.]