VCU says Finley’s claims are “unsubstantiated”

Tommy Lopez
Multimedia Editor

The investigation into whether or not former VCU volleyball coach James Finley was wrongfully terminated because of his sexual orientation concluded that Finley’s allegations are unfounded.

President Michael Rao announced the university’s decision to VCU students and faculty via email Thursday afternoon, saying that the termination of his contract was within the bounds of the school’s employment practices and policies.

“I continue to have confidence in the process that produced the report and in Ed McLaughlin as VCU’s athletic director,” Rao said in the email Thursday.

The VCU Office of Institutional Equity completed the investigation into the non-renewal of Finley’s contract.

“This case has served as an opportunity to open new discussion and explore exemplary practices in how we demonstrate our commitment to diversity at VCU,” said Wanda Mitchell, vice president of diversity and equity. “We will be engaging the university community to consider new ways of moving forward to ensure that VCU continues to be a national leader in promoting access, equity, diversity and excellence as a public urban research university.”

In the release, Mitchell said that in the near future her office will announce several initiatives to further strengthen diversity efforts at VCU. These initiatives will include opportunities for professional development among senior leadership and others that ensures advocacy for diverse and inclusive environments and promotes a culture of civility and respect for all individuals.

Since it was announced Finley’s contract would not be renewed, the school has held two diversity forums for VCU community members to voice any concerns they had. A petition imploring Rao to reinstate Finley has been created on change.org and has over 5,000 signatures.

As of now, McLaughlin’s decision to let Finley go stands.

Read the original story on Finley’s allegations here.

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