• Email Reveals Forced Diversity Hire At This Iowa College

    A recently-released 2013 email alleges that University of Iowa officials forced the school’s athletics department to pass over qualified men in order to hire a woman, even if she was totally unqualified.

    The email, which was given to The Associated Press, was released thanks to a lawsuit by Mike Scott, who is suing Iowa claiming he was the victim of gender discrimination. Scott was a volunteer assistant at Iowa when assistant coach Christi Smith left in 2012, and hoped to replace her, since he was experienced in her fields of pole vaulting and high jumping. Instead he was passed over repeatedly, an outcome he blames on gender bias.

    In the June 2013 email, Iowa cross-country head coach Layne Anderson tells his assistant coaches that he is retooling an open position’s job description in an attempt to attract more female applicants. Anderson says that pressure from above is forcing him to hire a female coach, whether she is qualified or not.

    “It is once again largely driven by the mandate from the administration to hire a female (qualified to them being optional — but not to myself or [track director Larry Wieczorek]),” Anderson says. He goes on to admit that an “ideal” male candidate had already been rejected because of the insistence on hiring a woman.

    Anderson changed the coach’s job description by adding a requirement that the applicant have experience in long-distance running, which he said would draw more women. In his lawsuit, Scott argues that this change disqualified him (as he has no experience in coaching distance running) and was also pointless for the program, because it already had several coaches in that field.

    Both Iowa state law and University of Iowa policy prohibit gender discrimination in employment.

    Iowa spokeswoman Jeneane Beck told the AP that the school didn’t engage in any discrimination, but had instead simply delayed its hiring to improve the diversity of the final applicant pool. She also said the person the school hired, Molly Jones, was “the most qualified” applicant in the end.

    Ironically, Iowa is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education over allegations that athletic director Gary Barta discriminated against women by firing several female head coaches. Critics say Barta was holding women to a different standard than men.

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