A federal judge has dismissed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the University of Saint Joseph that accused Hall of Fame men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun of harassment.
Jaclyn Piscitelli sued the Catholic school last October, alleging she was fired as an assistant athletic director after complaining about the conduct of men in the athletic department, including Calhoun. The coach, now 78, came out of retirement to coach and build a men's program at the tiny former all-women's school in West Hartford, Connecticut when it went co-ed in 2018.
Among other things, Piscitelli alleges the former UConn coach once called her “hot” and on another occasion forced her to clean up coffee grounds he spilled. Piscitelli also alleges that she was belittled by other male members of the athletic department who received preferential treatment and would “frequently leave work to play golf with Calhoun during the workday.”
U.S. District Court Judge Kari Dooley did not rule on the veracity of those allegations, but found they were improperly brought under Title IX, the federal law that guarantees women equal access to educational opportunities, including in sports.
The judge wrote there is “no private remedy under Title IX for employment discrimination claims.”
Piscitelli's attorney, Jacques Parenteau, said Friday that there have been contradictory rulings about that issue that could lead to an appeal. He also said Piscitelli would continue pursuing claims under another section of federal civil rights law and in her state fair employment practice claim.
“We will soon be filing another lawsuit," he said.
Calhoun, who led Saint Joseph to a 26-3 record and a Division III NCAA Tournament berth this past season, said Friday he stands by a previously released statement that he never “knowingly treated any woman unfairly because of her gender” and he fully supports women’s rights and equality.
The school said it was pleased with the ruling.
“We await the decision by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in the coming months and have no further comment at this time,” it said in a statement.