EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — On Friday, University of Evansville announced Aces Coach Walter McCarty is now on administrative leave as the University investigates what it called in a press release possible Title IX violations.
In a letter to the UE community, President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz says in the last two weeks, the University received a “troubling report” about Coach McCarty’s interactions with a member of the campus community.
The letter also said UE will make a decision on Coach McCarty’s status based on the results of an investigation, which will be conducted by a national law firm.
This is not the first time UE has dealt with a Title IX investigation.
In 2018, a UE student filed a federal lawsuit accusing a UE professor and the University of Violating Title IX, claiming faculty did not respond when she reported ongoing harassment by the professor.
Parties reached a settlement in June of 2019. UE fired that professor after an investigation.
Following the filing of that case, UE established an Office of Institutional Equity” which oversees Title IX issues.
Louisville attorney Lindsay Cordes represented the victim in that case, and other Title IX cases as well.
“What happens with schools is they have to put certain policies and procedures in place, and they have to have a system where if somebody reports that somebody’s been discriminated against based on their sex, they have to take prompt action to investigate and remedy that sex discrimination.”
So what constitutes a Title IX violation? The law states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Cordes says that could mean a wide range of possibilities.
“When we talk about sex discrimination, we mean things such as somebody could be sexually harassing someone, or asking them for sexual favors for good grades, or a good spot on an athletic team […] Sex discrimination kind of covers a pretty big umbrella of behavior that Title IX prohibits.”
The Evansville Police Department says it is not involved in any investigation at this time. Cordes says police involvement is often situational, depending on the nature of the complaint.
“For example, police may not be involved if someone is saying a professor was being sexist in class.”
However, there were strong words in the letter issued by Pietruszkiewicz, which states that “the University has received reports of unwelcome conduct by Coach McCarty since his arrival in March 2018. We have counseled him about his behavior.”
The story, which is so close to home for Aces fans, is now expanding beyond Evansville and leading national headlines.
But whether on campus, or across the country — Title IX may not be out of the spotlight any time soon.
“Betsy DeVos, who is the Secretary in the Department of Education in our federal government, has issued a statement that she will be issuing new guidelines on updated best practices, under what they should do; what types of things fall under Title IX.”
Eyewitness News has reached out to Walter McCarty, but has not yet heard back.