Former UConn coach Jim Calhoun accused of sex discrimination in lawsuit against University of Saint Joseph
The lawsuit alleges that the university's athletic department turned into a 'boys club' under Calhoun
A former associate athletic director at the University of Saint Joseph filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday against the school alleging sexual discrimination by Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Calhoun, his assistant Glen Miller and others.
The lawsuit filed by Jaclyn Piscitelli against the university alleges that the athletic department turned into a "boys club" and a "male-dominated, hostile work environment" for any females after Calhoun, who led UConn to three NCAA Tournament championships, was hired to start the school's men's basketball program in 2018.
The lawsuit also alleges former athletic director Bill Cardarelli failed to address the conduct when she brought allegations to him against the 77-year-old Calhoun..
Piscitelli was fired in June of this year, which her attorneys say came after she complained about the conduct of men within the athletic department, and replaced by Josh Ingham, the sports information director. She alleges violations of Title IX, the federal law that "protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance." Saint Joseph, a small Catholic school in West Hartford, Connecticut, began admitting men in 2018.
The 13-page complaint includes several examples of what Piscitelli said was degrading treatment by Calhoun and Miller toward females. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that many times Calhoun and particularly Miller used sexual innuendos when talking to her and forced her to perform menial tasks that he could have completed himself. Piscitelli also alleges that disparaging comments were made by multiple members of the department, including Calhoun calling her "hot" and Miller telling her he'd "swipe left" on a dating app.
A specific incident involving K-cups was detailed in the lawsuit, which highlights the degrading treatment Piscitelli alleges. from the lawsuit:
"There was an instance in which Calhoun knocked a number of single-serve coffee 'K-cups' onto the floor and stepped on them, creating a mess of coffee grounds and packaging on the floor and made plaintiff clean them up, stating that if he made such a mess at home, his wife would clean up after him.
Piscitelli also alleges that other male members of the athletic department received preferential treatment including extra interns and staff while she was given none. Male employees would also allegedly "frequently leave work to play golf with Calhoun during the workday."
The lawsuit said that Piscitelli reported the incidents of inappropriate and sexually harassing comments by Calhoun and Miller to Cardarelli, who did not take any action.
Calhoun told the Hartford Courant he has "no comment" on the lawsuit, which seeks Piscitelli's reinstatement, back pay and other unspecified monetary damages.
Diana Sousa, a school spokeswoman, said the university does not comment on pending litigation.
"We have received and are reviewing the lawsuit," she said in an email to the Courant. "The University of Saint Joseph takes compliance with all matters relating to Title IX very seriously."
Calhoun started the Division III men's basketball program at Saint Joseph after the school announced plans to become co-ed. Calhoun had previously won three national titles at UConn before retiring in 2012. Calhoun then hired Miller, who had been his assistant at UConn and had remained with the Huskies until he was fired in 2017 as associate head coach by Kevin Ollie, as his director of operations to help head up with the program.
Calhoun led Saint Joseph to 16-12 record in 2018-19, its inaugural season.
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