Belmont Coach Allegedly Fired for Sexual Orientation
December 22, 2010
by Suada Kolovic
After six seasons, Belmont University women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe resigned from her position. Why, you ask? According to the university, Howe decided to resign on her own without offering further explanation. They later retracted that statement saying that the school and Howe had reached a “mutual agreement.” The reason for the backpedaling: Members of the soccer team became weary of the timing of her firing because several athletes say Howe told them she was pressured to resign after telling school administrators and the team she and her same-sex partner, Wendy Holleman, were having a baby.
One student said that the school administrator told Howe that her “morals and values conflicted with Belmont’s mission statement” and that “she could no longer be an employee at the university.” Belmont President Bob Fisher refuted those claims and said “sexual orientation has not been considered in making hiring promotion salary of dismissal decisions” during his decade at the school, though he did not specifically comment on Howe’s case. In response to the backlash – campus protests and national headlines – the Belmont faculty senate unanimously adopted an official policy that would protect gay students, teachers and staff from discrimination.