1690244157 Former Northwestern volleyball player sues university over alleged hazing NPR | mnfolkarts

Former Northwestern volleyball player sues university over alleged hazing: NPR

A former volleyball player filed a hazing lawsuit within the Northwestern University women’s volleyball team. Northwestern University’s Weber Arch is pictured in 2020, in Evanston, Illinois.

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS/abacapress.com via Reuters


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1690244155 219 Former Northwestern volleyball player sues university over alleged hazing NPR | mnfolkarts

A former volleyball player filed a hazing lawsuit within the Northwestern University women’s volleyball team. Northwestern University’s Weber Arch is pictured in 2020, in Evanston, Illinois.

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS/abacapress.com via Reuters

A former Northwestern University volleyball player has filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging that university officials failed to adequately address a hazing incident that occurred two years ago.

The player, identified in the lawsuit as « Jane Doe 1, » is the university’s first female athlete to come forward amid reports of hazing in the school’s soccer program.

In a 25-page lawsuit filed Monday, Jane Doe alleges she experienced « hazing, harassment, bullying and retaliation » as a member of the Northwestern volleyball team.

The lawsuit names Northwestern University, its president Michael Schill, former president Morton Schapiro, the school’s board of trustees, university vice president for athletics and recreation Derrick Gragg, former university vice president for athletics and recreation James Phillips, and head volleyball coach Shane Davis as defendants.

Doe is seeking at least $50,000 in damages and a jury trial.

According to the lawsuit, the former athlete claims he sustained an unspecified injury in March 2021 while performing suicides — a conditioning exercise involving sprints of several lengths across the court — as a form of punishment for allegedly violating the team’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Jane Doe says Northwestern volleyball coach Shane Davis and an assistant coach notified her she would face « punishment » for breaking COVID-19 guidelines and the next day, the coaches allowed team captains to choose her punishment.

As he handled the suicides, volleyball coaching staff, team members and coaches watched, the suit says.

Following the injury, the university responded by conducting an investigation, during which it suspended the team’s head coach and coaching staff, Northwestern officials told NPR in a statement.

Jane Doe further alleges that following the investigation and as of December 2022, she « never played a game of volleyball » – while the coaches singled her out and made her write an apology letter to the coaches for no justifiable reason.

Doe also claims that she was not allowed to travel with the team, despite having done so previously.

In an emailed statement to NPR, Northwestern University spokesman Jon Yates said the school is working to ensure « adequate accountability » for its athletic department.

« Although this incident preceded President Schill and Athletic Director Gragg’s tenures at the university, both are taking it seriously, » Yates said.

Attorneys Patrick Salvi II and Parker Stinar, representing the unnamed former athlete, tell NPR that a petition to continue the lawsuit without naming her is still pending.

« Here, we have a university where many brave young men and women are standing up for themselves, and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come, where student-athletes are not being bullied in their pursuit of school victories, but being treated like the human beings that they are, » Salvi said.

Salvi and Stinar also filed three lawsuits alleging hazing on the soccer program.

On Monday, prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump and members of a Chicago law firm along with a former Northwestern student-athlete announced another lawsuit involving the soccer program.

The lawsuit is the first in what is expected to be a series of lawsuits on behalf of several Northwestern players, Crump said. The hazing allegations come weeks after former head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired from the university.

Earlier this month, Northwestern also fired baseball head coach Jim Foster after reports emerged of a toxic culture within the baseball program.

Chicago Radio Station 670 the score reported that Foster would also make racist statements and discourage players from reporting their injuries. When asked about this allegation by the radio station, he denied all allegations, calling them « ridiculous. »

A Northwestern Athletics spokesman declined to comment regarding Foster’s investigation and termination.

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