EVANSTON, Ill. — A group of Northwestern students protested the recent promotion of the university’s new athletic director after claims of sexist policies within the cheerleading team in the past.
The protesters are marching in response to the university hiring athletic director Mike Polisky. He was recently appointed athletic director after serving as deputy athletic director since 2010.
The rally was planned after six female faculty members sent an open letter demanding greater transparency.
Protesters believe the university is turning a blind eye to Polisky’s past. He is one of four people cited in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former cheerleader Hayden Richardson.
In the lawsuit, she claims cheerleaders were forced to work as “sex objects” to mingle with rich donors for the university’s financial gain.
“I was the recipient and was affected Polisky’s racist and sexist policies and attitudes,” said former cheerleader Erika Carter. “So I think for him to be appointed as athletic director, I wanted use my platform to speak out and say this isn’t right and I think Northwestern needs to do something to change it.”
After meeting at “the Rock,” around 100 students marched to Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro’s home. The rally ended around 5 p.m.
The university has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and denies they violated Title IX.
“Having reviewed the complaint, Northwestern denied that it or any of its current employees violated any laws, including Title IX. We are contesting the complaint and have filed a motion to dismiss claims against our employees,” the university said in the statement.