The women’s basketball coach at Cal State San Marcos has been fired after complaints of discrimination and racism.
Head Coach Sheri Jennum received a notice of dismissal Monday, the university confirmed. An internal investigation found that Coach Jennum created a hostile environment by harassing student athletes because of their race
Freshman players Lynette Mackey and Kianna Williams, who are African-American, say they endured months of discrimination.
The girls’ mothers told NBC 7 that it all came to a head last October when the African-American players arrived late to a fundraiser together. Jennum allegedly told them they couldn’t ride together anymore because they were always late and started referring to them as “the group.” Lynette went to the athletic director.
After that, Jennum allegedly confronted the team about the complaint and asked for someone to confess. Kianna stood up for her friend Lynette, and her mother said Kianna forever had a target on her after that.
Months later, Kianna was kicked off the team after leaving a hostile meeting with her teammates. She was given no explanation about why she was no longer on the team, her mother said.
“It was hurtful. It took me a minute to realize really what was going on,” Kim Williams said in a phone interview.
So far, one family has filed a discrimination lawsuit, and another family said they will strongly consider it after meeting with the university next week.
Kim Williams said she's glad Coach Jennum has been fired, but said the whole athletic department needs to be investigated. Her daughter Kianna will not return to play next year.
Jennum has not commented on her dismissal. She coached at CSUSM since March 2010.