Winthrop University has not been served with the federal complaint issued by former women's soccer coach Melissa Heinz and has refused comment according to a statement by Rebecca Masters, Assistant to the President for Public Affairs.
Masters said in an email to The Herald, "As of Monday afternoon, Winthrop officials have not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, so it would not be appropriate to comment based on third-party descriptions. In general, athletic program decisions at Winthrop are always made in the best interest of our student-athletes and the individual sports program involved, and any allegation to the contrary will be demonstrated to be without merit in the appropriate venue."
The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 4, alleges Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio, Athletic Director Tom Hickman and men's soccer coach Rich Posipanko all were involved in discrimination against Heinz.
Hickman said on Monday that the allegations would be addressed at an appropriate time. He added "If you do your research you will find some inaccuracies (in the complaint)."
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Posipanko declined comment.
Heinz told The Herald by phone on Monday that she decided to press forward with a lawsuit more than two years ago following an Aug. 22, 2008 meeting with Hickman and Posipanko that failed to bring an end to what the lawsuit refers to as "gender inequities and verbal harassment".
"If you can't complain about a problem, you can't make things better," Heinz said.
Hickman could not offer any timetable or next action for Winthrop regarding the lawsuit.
A PDF of the lawsuit is attached to this story.