While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie very carefully dodged questions regarding his opinion of Rutgers’ newly appointed athletic director, the embattled Julie Hermann (“I have never met Julie Hermann. I have never spoken to Julie Hermann. I wasn’t involved in her recruiting or her vetting or anything else”), the New York Times’ Steve Eder reports Hermann was hit with a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2008 while serving as as senior administrator at Louisville.
In that case, an assistant track and field coach said she went to Hermann to complain of what she considered sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by the head coach. Within three weeks of her taking her concerns to Louisville’s human resources department, the assistant coach, Mary Banker, was fired.
In 2008, Banker sued the university’s athletic department, saying that she had been subjected to discriminatory treatment because of her gender. She said that she was ultimately terminated after she voiced her concerns to Hermann and complained to the university’s human resources department, according to the complaint in Kentucky state court.
Among Banker’s concerns: the male coaches would refer to student-athletes with words that were derogatory toward women, and that because she was female she was instructed by the head coach, Ron Mann, to set up party tables and make food arrangements for recruiting lunches.
In a filing with the Supreme Court, Banker’s lawyer Bryan Cassis wrote that after Banker’s complaint to human resources, “Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR.’ ” The lawsuit also said Hermann told Banker: “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now.”
Casis tells Eder that he’s not been contacted by anyone from Rutgers. Since I have little experience dealing with New Jersey’s premier institutes of higher learning (or, for that matter, Rutgers) it would be terribly unfair of me to say the school is not entirely familiar with the concept of due diligence. But George O’Leary would like it known that he’s totally available anytime the Scarlet Knights say the word.