Brenny case should embarrass University

Though most people involved in the case have left, Brenny’s story is evidence of a broken system.

Former golf coach Katie Brenny won her discrimination suit against the University of Minnesota last week.

 Hennepin County Judge Thomas M. Sipkins ruled that former University Director of Golf John Harris had belittled Brenny and stripped her of her essential duties after he learned she is a lesbian. This mistreatment forced Brenny out of her dream job after just a few months.

While we’re pleased to see Brenny vindicated after a long fight, we’re more ashamed that it happened in the first place. The University should be embarrassed that despite its reputation for acceptance, athletics was shown to be so behind.

The problems revealed in this lawsuit go beyond Harris and his son-in-law Ernie Rose, who have since left the University. In 2010, Brenny appealed to then-athletics director Joel Maturi, who brushed off her concerns. Furthermore, the case showed that athletics has failed to address complaints from players about Harris’ and Rose’s performances.

Even more disturbingly, the court found that the University failed to produce and even destroyed electronic evidence requested in the case.

The details that came out of Brenny’s trial hint at wider problems with accountability. These won’t go away with changes in leadership.

So far, the University’s only official response to this ruling has been slight disappointment, with plans to explore “next steps.” While we don’t expect to hear much more than that, hopefully those next steps involve changes, both concrete and cultural, that will prevent anyone else from being treated the way Brenny was.