Former University of Minnesota football players appeal discrimination lawsuit dismissal

The lawsuit was filed June last year, claiming the players faced discrimination based on race and gender by the University

A Gophers football player watches from the sidelines during a game on Sept. 16, 2017.

Jack Rodgers, Daily File Photo

A Gophers football player watches from the sidelines during a game on Sept. 16, 2017.

Imani Cruzen

Former University of Minnesota football players filed an appeal Wednesday after their discrimination lawsuit against the school was dismissed by a judge in June.

A notice of the dismissal was filed June 24, according to court documents. The former players, all of whom are black, claimed in the lawsuit that they faced race and gender discrimination by the University during a 2016 sexual assault investigation.

The University filed to dismiss the suit in November last year and U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the suit in June. According to the dismissal, University officials acted appropriately in disciplining the players.

“Moreover, it appears that the conduct at issue is plainly within the scope of Defendants’ employment with the University,” the order to dismiss reads.

The 2016 investigation by the University into the alleged sexual assault resulted in four expulsions and one one-year suspension. Then President Eric Kaler, University Title IX Coordinator Tina Marisam and the Board of Regents were listed as defendants in the lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed similar allegations against white athletes were treated differently by the University and Kaler. The lawsuit also claimed that the University Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action prevented the players from receiving a fair investigation.

“Because of Plaintiffs’ gender, and to support an archaic assumption that male football players had a propensity for sexual misconduct against women, the [University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action] investigators deprived Plaintiffs of the fair and impartial investigation to which they were entitled under the U.S. Constitution and University policies and procedures,” the lawsuit reads.