5 years after a Deadspin investigation prompted Brandeis College to fireplace its males’s basketball coach following allegations of blatant racism, the college finds itself as soon as once more dealing with allegations of racism, and unequal remedy, this time in its ladies’s basketball program.
Deadspin has realized that, following an Administrative Formal Grievance (the Grievance) from the college’s Workplace of Equal Alternative (OEO) and an investigation by the College, ladies’s basketball coach Carol Simon was discovered to have violated Brandeis’ Coverage In opposition to Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence, and one other college code. In keeping with a letter the College despatched to the complaining witness (the witness) on Might 17, 2023, the College decided that Simon used “the n-word in full whereas telling a narrative involving two Black males,” and that Simon “used her interpretation of what these two Black males gave the impression of whereas gesticulating.” Brandeis didn’t state what disciplinary motion, if any, was taken towards Simon within the letter, citing privateness issues.
Allegations of racist habits by a long-time coach
As said within the Grievance and recounted to Deadspin by the witness: Throughout a June 1, 2022 dialog between Simon, the witness, and an assistant coach in Simon’s workplace, Simon allegedly described an incident she had noticed between two Black males, and used offensive gestures and racial stereotypes in telling what the boys mentioned to one another, together with utilizing the n-word. When confronted about her habits by the witness on June 6, Simon reportedly defended herself by saying she was “simply telling a narrative,” and repeatedly mentioned “I hear you” in response to the criticism of her habits, however didn’t apologize.
In keeping with the witness, it was not the one time Simon has used racist language, and stereotypes concerning the Black group. In keeping with allegations within the Grievance, Simon “used offensive ‘racist tropes’ to explain Black athletes, together with that they had been ‘uncoachable’ and ‘too dumb to be taught the performs’” when talking with colleagues within the Athletic Division throughout the 2019-2020 basketball season. The witness instructed Deadspin that they by no means heard Simon speak about a white participant in such a derogatory method.
Additional, the Grievance alleges, and the witness confirmed to Deadspin, that Simon spoke negatively about Black colleagues, together with males’s head basketball coach Jean Bain, and used racist tropes, “equivalent to ‘loud,’ ‘obnoxious,’ and ‘indignant’” when describing a Black feminine coach at one other college.
Simon has been the top ladies’s basketball coach at Brandeis for the reason that 1987-88 season. In keeping with Brandeis’ web site, Simon is “probably the most revered Division III coaches in New England. She has earned College Athletic Affiliation Teaching Employees of the 12 months honors in 1991-92 and 2004-05 and in 2010 was inducted into the New England Basketball Corridor of Fame.”
These aren’t the one allegations towards Simon within the Grievance, which additionally claims that Simon has belittled, and mocked Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives put in place by the Athletic Division, complaining about her function in DEI schooling by asking “When do I get to only coach? This isn’t what I signed as much as do.” The witness additionally claims that Simon was cavalier about her immunity from disciplinary motion, saying “They’ll by no means do away with me, I’ve too many footage. That’s why I hold my higher proper drawer locked.”
Regardless of Brandeis’ popularity as a bastion of liberal tolerance, the witness instructed Deadspin that 75 p.c of the Black gamers on the staff give up inside one yr. “Being Black at Brandeis is difficult sufficient,” the witness mentioned. “Being a Black lady athlete is absolutely powerful.” The Grievance additionally alleges that Simon complained that Black gamers concerned in actions just like the Black Pupil Affiliation, Black Lives Matter, and different social justice initiatives had been “too concerned in different issues,” however didn’t say the identical about white gamers’ non-basketball actions. The witness reported to Deadspin that Simon had a lot better relationships with white gamers.
Racism as an ongoing challenge in Brandeis Athletics
The witness mentioned they had been shocked that Simon’s habits was allowed to proceed on the College after the firing of males’s head basketball coach Brian Meehan in 2018. Since that point, the College has created an Workplace of Equal Alternative (OEO) and employed Lauren Haynie as Director of Athletics. However the witness mentioned the OEO has no decision-making or disciplinary energy, and that Haynie has been handicapped by the college in not being allowed to herald her personal employees.
However the issues in Brandeis’ Athletics division run deeper nonetheless. Lynn Dempsey, who was demoted from Director of Athletics following the Meehan scandal, stays with the Division within the function of Affiliate Director of Athletics, and Haynie’s right-hand lady. Dempsey performed basketball at Brandeis for Simon within the Nineteen Nineties and nonetheless calls Simon “coach,” although Dempsey is technically her superior inside the Athletics Division. Any scholar who needed to complain about Simon’s habits would seemingly have needed to undergo Dempsey, first.
Deadspin reported in 2018 that Dempsey’s demotion from AD got here because of her inaction after six gamers took complaints of racism, nepotism, and participant mistreatment about Meehan, spanning three seasons, to the College. Deadspin additionally reported “Dempsey and Meehan declined to satisfy with a participant in 2015 to debate what he felt was unfair and discriminatory remedy. Dempsey was additionally current for (a) 2017 Senior Day incident by which Meehan stubborn a senior participant out in entrance of his mother and father for asking to take free throws that Meehan as an alternative had his son take.” On one other event, Meehan allegedly instructed a Black participant, “I’ll ship you again to Africa,” and claimed he didn’t need to sit subsequent to a Black athlete for worry of catching Ebola. Regardless of being demoted, ostensibly for permitting Meehan’s habits to go unchecked, Dempsey stays a part of Brandeis Athletics.
The witness instructed Deadspin that, as soon as the investigation into Simon’s habits started, she refused to satisfy with any college students to debate the upcoming season, and instructed gamers to not communicate to the one who made the grievance, prompting some gamers to complain about “toxicity” in this system. In keeping with the witness, Simon needed to be ordered to carry pre-season conferences along with her gamers by the Athletic Division. And within the fall of 2022, Simon “reorganized the division of labor amongst the ladies’s basketball teaching employees in order that recruiting obligations had been reassigned” from the witness to an assistant ladies’s coach.
Regardless of the quite a few allegations towards Simon within the Grievance, the college solely discovered that she violated College coverage with regard to the June 22 incident, stating within the letter “The Choice Makers discovered inadequate proof to show all different allegations by a preponderance of the proof.” Deadspin has reached out to Simon, Dempsey, Haynie, and the College for remark. Brandeis supplied the next assertion:
“It’s college coverage to not touch upon particular personnel points. Brandeis takes all complaints of discrimination extraordinarily severely. Lately, the college has taken a lot of steps designed to reinforce our capacity to handle problems with discrimination. This contains establishing the Workplace of Equal Alternative in 2019, implementing new coaching periods for college students, college and employees, and growing reporting, and determination choices. For formal complaints, there’s a thorough course of overseen by the Workplace of Equal Alternative that features a skilled investigation, a dedication by a panel, and sanctions when acceptable.”
On the time of publication, not one of the people concerned responded to our request for remark.