RICHMOND, VA — Late Thursday, Virginia Commonwealth University released a statement regarding its internal investigation into allegations that Coach James Finley was terminated from his role as the head coach of the women's volleyball coach because he is gay. After reflection on the results of the investigation and the determination by VCU President Michael Rao that there was no cause for complaint, James Finley issued the following statement:
"I'm obviously disappointed in the outcome of VCU's initial investigation into my discrimination complaint. I am dismayed by the poor quality of the investigative procedures followed and by numerous factual inaccuracies included in the report that appear to provide the basis for the conclusion reached. This is particularly disturbing since the report fails to address my complaint of discriminatory treatment, and the procedures followed provided me with no opportunity to respond to any of the erroneous information brought forward in the investigation to justify the action taken. In addition, I am concerned that the damage to me and my reputation from this flawed investigation is being magnified by disclosures of inaccurate information by persons associated with VCU. Despite VCU's official statements that my complaint and the investigation are confidential personnel matters, there appears to be no effort by VCU to prevent disclosure to the media of information from the report or inaccuracies contained therein by persons on VCU's payroll or under VCU's control.
"I am going to take time over the holidays to review with counsel all of the options available to challenge the report and its findings. I thank all of my many friends and supporters at VCU, in the Richmond community, and across the country for your outpouring of love and support, and I ask for your patience as I carefully consider all of the options available and discuss with my family the best course for us to pursue going forward."
Over 11,000 people from across the country signed an online petition targeted toward VCU President Michael Rao, asking him to reinstate Coach Finley (link: www.change.org/petitions/vcu-president-michael-rao-reinstate-coach-finley&. Local organizers in Richmond and organizers nationally are considering next steps in their support of Coach Finley.
Further statements about James Finley's next steps will be released in the coming days.