ADA — East Central University will pay $15,000 to a former women’s soccer player who was kicked off the team, but the university denies any wrongdoing regarding her claim of retaliation, according to a settlement agreement.
The Oklahoman obtained a copy of the confidential agreement Wednesday through an open records request.
Traebiyana Dimanche sought damages from ECU women’s soccer coach Riley Bailey and the Board of Regents for the Regional University System of Oklahoma, the governing board of ECU.
In a lawsuit filed July 1 in Oklahoma County District Court, Dimanche said she suffered retaliation for complaining about racial discrimination. Her attorney, Mark Hammons, said the settlement agreement was reached the following week.
The agreement states that ECU and its governing board “deny any liability or wrongdoing in connection with Dimanche’s claims, and this settlement is simply an economic resolution ....”
Dimanche came to ECU in the fall of 2012. During the soccer season, she complained to her coach about a text message, jokes and the way she was treated by team members. Dimanche was the only black player on the team.
She was released from the team after only one semester and lost her scholarship. Dimanche transferred to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she played soccer this past academic year, her attorney said.
A Regional University System of Oklahoma report on its investigation into her complaint stated Bailey cited two reasons for removing Dimanche from the team: “She was not producing or improving as a player ... and she was considered a disruptive influence on the team because of her complaint ... and the team’s response to this complaint.”
The report states: “Removing Miss Dimanche from the team because of her complaint about what she perceived as racial harassment was retaliation even if other factors contributed to her removal.”
CONTRIBUTING: Staff Writer Randy Ellis