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Meyer sues UI, alleging bias

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Jane Meyer, the former senior associate AD, has filed a discrimination suit against the university.
By Ian Murphy

ian-murphy@uiowa.edu

A former University of Iowa athletics administrator filed a discrimination lawsuit this week in an Iowa district court against UI officials, the state Board of Regents, and the state of Iowa, alleging that she was paid $80,000 less than a male employee would have made.

Jane Meyer — who served as senior associate director for the Athletic Department until December 2014 — is suing the three entities after being reassigned to a position in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Meyer alleges she was unfairly reassigned to her new position and is claiming discrimination on wages and sexual orientation, as well as retaliation.

Meyer also alleges she was paid $80,000 less than a male counterpart would have made.

“They’ve taken Jane’s career, and they’ve trashed it,”said Jill Zwagerman, Meyer’s attorney. “For Jane to get another job in athletics, it’s slim to none.

“There’s no basis. Jane has not been found of any wrongdoing. Her partner has not been found of any wrongdoing.”

Meyer is a long personal and professional ally of former field-hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, who was terminated in 2014 just before the season began. Griesbaum has a lawsuit pending against the UI, alleging wrongful termination on the grounds of her sexual orientation.

The lawsuit also alleges Meyer was paid more than $80,000 less than her male counterpart, Deputy Athletics Director Gene Taylor, and the reassignment came one day after her contacting Athletics Director Gary Barta about concerns she and female coaches and athletes were being discriminated against.

UI officials strongly disputed Meyer’s claims.

“The university did not discriminate or retaliate against Jane Meyer,” UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said in a statement.

“After the university terminated Ms. Griesbaum as the field-hockey coach last year, Ms. Griesbaum and her attorney publicly stated that she intended to sue the university for her termination,” the statement said. “Leaving Ms. Meyer in her prior position as senior associate director of athletics presented many challenges for the department and the university’s defense of Ms. Griesbaum’s litigation.”

Upon consulting with officials in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the university reassigned Meyer to a position outside the domain of the Athletics Department, Beck said in the statement.

The UI statement also says Meyer “is paid her same salary and has the same job classification as before.”

The petition continues that Meyer is now facing a pay discrepancy of, with bolded emphasis in the petition, $80,000, and no one in the UI investigated her claims despite her reporting to the University of Iowa Human Resources, UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and the regents.

The 18-page petition also claims that Barta terminated or “forced out at least six female coaches who he learned were gay.”

As athletics director, Barta failed to investigate Meyer’s claim, the lawsuits claims. As an employee of the Athletics Department, Meyer helped oversee the football and men’s basketball programs.

Meyer currently holds the position of logistical strategist and project manager in the liberal-arts school. The university statement said she is coordinating the movement of Studio Arts and the School of Music equipment into their new buildings.

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