Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Just Keep Sending Her to Diversity Training; It Worked So Well Before

Penn State finds Rene Portland ('Rene the Weenie') discriminated against Jen Harris on perceived sexual oriention grounds, but lets her off, again:

Women's Hoops Blog (1)

[H]ere is the University press release. It is, as rumored, a slap on the wrist.

PSU's internal investigation found that Coach Portland did indeed violate the school's antidiscrimination policy.

The report ... conclude[d] that enough evidence existed to substantiate a claim that Portland discriminated against Harris by creating a “hostile, intimidating, and offensive environment” because of Harris' sexual orientation. This is in violation of Penn State Policy AD-42, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics.

But the sanctions ordered are mild. Very mild. They include:

(1) A letter of reprimand (strongly worded, I'm sure).
(2) A warning that future violations will not be tolerated (and this time we really, really mean it).
(3) Diversity training (insert rolling-eyes emoticon here).
(4) A $10,000 fine.

Women's Hoops Blog (2)

But are these sanctions meaningful? NCLR's Karen Doering scoffs at the notion of putting Rene Portland through more diversity training.

"She underwent diversity training in 1991 with no effect," Doering said. "Her very statement of denials today clearly shows she does not get it. If she doesn't think she has done anything wrong, she's not going to change her behavior."

Walt Moody, Knight Ridder (San Jose Mercury-News): Sanctions against Penn State's Portland have no real bite

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The line has been drawn in the sand by Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland and university president Graham Spanier is standing on the other side.

"I will return as head coach of the Lady Lions next year," she said Tuesday during a hastily called news conference to dispute university findings that she violated the school's anti-discrimination policy in dealings with former player Jennifer Harris, who has filed a federal lawsuit against Portland and the school.

The university report, which spawned from Harris' charges that she was discriminated against because of perceived sexual orientation and race, concluded that created a "hostile, intimidating and offensive environment" based on Harris' perceived sexual orientation. The report said there was no basis for the race claims of Harris, who is black.

By accepting the findings of the report, Spanier agreed that "the preponderance of evidence supported a conclusion that discrimination had taken place" against Harris, who claims she is not gay, but was perceived to be so by Portland.

Spanier ordered four actions to be taken against Portland among other recommendations for the school's athletic department.

Portland could have accepted to what amounts to a colossal slap on the wrist and gone on with her coaching career. The sanctions have no real bite.

A written letter in a personnel file for a coach who isn't going anywhere else is no big deal. Neither is attending a "professional development experience devoted to diversity and inclusiveness," where the only penalty is time spent.

The hard-hitters are supposed to be a $10,000 fine (for a coach who last year signed a four-year deal that pays six figures) and the promise she will be dismissed if she violates the anti-discrimination policy again.

They're hardly hard-hitting.

Given Portland's history - published comments in the early 1990s about not wanting lesbians in her program - the punishment had the potential to be harsher.

Mechelle Voepel, ESPN: Step in right direction, but so much further to go

Previous post: Rene is a Weenie (March 26, 2006)

No comments: