Students Sue California Lutheran University For Slander Over College Skit

Students at California Lutheran University have filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the school for defamation and false light after the school denounced softball players and coaches as racists for a college skit.  The claim is part of a broader claim alleging discriminatory treatment given to the CLU Women’s Softball program as opposed to the CLU Men’s Baseball program.  In a bizarre twist, the complaint includes a picture of the former university president Chris Kimball dressed as Bob Marley.

The lawsuit (below) alleges that a skit was held as a team-bonding exercise in which players wore facial hair makeup and some of the female players dressed as men. The plaintiffs say that there were no racial elements to the skit and the team is overseen by Coach De Ann Young, who is African American.  The women did not wear blackface makeup, according to the complaint.

After the skit then-President Chris Kimball and Vice-President Melissa Maxwell-Doherty blasted the team and the event — stating as fact that the members engaged in racist displays. According to the Ventura County Star, Kimball sent out an email declaring “Blackface and the N-word evoke white supremacy, anti-blackness and remind us that a violent, racist past is still with us today.”  Kimbell also promised “Those who are responsible will be held accountable.”

The complaint lists the costumes and makeup which include two Caucasian male wigs (like one from a displayed Napoleon Dynamite costume bag).

The email fueled a tsunami of media stories like the CLU Newspaper, The Echo, running an article entitled “Student-Athletes Involved in Racist Incidents.” That story was then published on February 6, 2020 by the Ventura County Star in an article entitled: “Racial Social Media Posts by Cal Lutheran Students Denounced by School Officials.” The story was also published in USA Today in an article that stated: “In one video, students wearing what looked to be blackface lipsynched a song.”

The Plaintiffs include a slap back at Kimball with this graph and a picture inserted into the complaint:

Plaintiffs are informed and believe that in order to show Defendants’ hypocrisy, pictures surfaced on Twitter that Defendant Kimball had proudly posted on his CLU social media page. The pictures were of a CLU administrator dressing as Bob Marley, with actual “Blackface” makeup and wig and imitation illegal narcotics, all of which squarely fit CLU’s newly-minted definition of “Blackface.”

The case could render important new precedent on the liability for universities in making premature or unfounded allegations. The University is likely to argue that it merely announced an investigation and commitment to deal with findings of violations. However, the tenor and language was read by the team as presupposing such racist violations, a view that certainly implied coverage.

One interesting aspect is that, even though team members are referred to as Jane Does, the action is not brought as a per quod defamation case. Slander is considered inherently damaging if it falls into one of a number of “per se” categories.  Those traditional categories include allegations of criminal conduct, moral turpitude, and other highly damaging acts. There is a concept of per quod defamation where the identity of an individual or individuals is easily established by extrinsic facts.  However, the complaint states that “the statements made by the Slander Defendants is so defamatory that referral to extrinsic material is unnecessary to determine their defamatory meaning and/or effect. As such, the Slander Defendants’ statements pertaining to the Softball Team are slander per se.”

There are 13 claims:

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION FOR SLANDER

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION FOR LIBEL

FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR FALSE LIGHT

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

SEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE

EIGHTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATION OF TITLE IX

NINTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR RETALIATION

TENTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT

ELEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR CONSTRUCTIVE TERMINATION

TWELFTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATION OF LABOR CODE § 2699

THIRTEENTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATION OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE § 17200:

 

Here is the complaint: Day v. California Lutheran University complaint

28 thoughts on “Students Sue California Lutheran University For Slander Over College Skit”

  1. Pandering to the woke mob is a kind of sick and free marketing ploy, that’s the reality. Student athletes are a little too wholesome for any properly self- and country- hating institution. I hope justice prevails.

    1. Mespo, when Australia denied a woman’s request to stay with her daughter to help when she went through chemo, it really made clear the abuse of human rights. The denial made no scientific sense. The woman simply wanted to change her “bubble” to her daughter’s home. The request was denied because her daughter had a husband. However, the entire point was for Grandma to come help with the two young children, to give the husband a break, and to simply be there to help her daughter in the fight for her life.

      She was going to quarantine, had been vaccinated, and had tested negative.

      It made a lot of people stop and think, why should the government have the right to tell anyone they can’t move in with their child to take care of them when they have cancer.

      The United States was formed because of resistance to tyranny.

  2. Copying my post from another thread:

    Another report is out absolutely damning the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Does anyone think Joe Biden is capable of holding China to account? What are the chances that SARS-CoV2 is the only virus with gain of function research at that lab? How many other weaponized viruses are at WIV, at risk of escaping? Imagine what would happen if yet another pandemic broke out in addition to this one.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/damning-new-report-reveals-what-wuhan-scientists-british-zoologist-were-up-to-in-months-before-pandemic

    “Scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including British zoologist Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, were reportedly planning to release “enhanced airborne coronaviruses into Chinese bat populations” to inoculate them in the months before the pandemic. The scientists also sought funding from the U.S. to “create chimeric viruses,” which are “genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily.”

    The Telegraph reported that the plans from the Chinese scientists were revealed in leaked grant proposals dating back to 2018, which a former U.S. official confirmed as being authentic, the outlet claimed.

    “New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing ‘novel chimeric spike proteins’ of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China,” The Telegraph reported. “Papers, confirmed as genuine by a former member of the Trump administration, show they were hoping to introduce ‘human-specific cleavage sites’ to bat coronaviruses which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells.”

    The report said that Daszak, who has emerged as a shadowy figure in the search for the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, submitted the bid. Daszak reportedly sought $14 million for the research from the U.S.’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    DARPA refused to fund the project, saying, “It is clear that the proposed project led by Peter Daszak could have put local communities at risk.””

    The report said that Daszak’s team had not considered how dangerous the work was — and particularly had not considered the potential danger of releasing a vaccine by air.

    The report noted that Daszak was behind a letter in the Lancet that helped to shut down talk of whether the pandemic originated in a Chinese lab. Nearly all of the scientists that signed the Lancet letter have ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).”

  3. Wait! Americans were wrong to engage in slavery, but they are righteous in killing young, unborn human beings?

    Americans enjoy the right to kill human beings in the embryonic phase, but they have no right or freedom to hold any and all opinions on people, nationalities and races or to otherwise differentiate or discriminate?

    The “dictatorship of the proletariat” orders whom Americans must accept and cherish?

    Someone has all the wrong ideas about freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and America.

  4. On Sunday, your pastor or priest might impart that the Bible suggests being kind, compassionate and congenial.

    On Monday, the Constitution provides the freedoms of speech, thought, holding opinions on race, choice and discrimination.

  5. THE FOUNDERS CODIFIED THE FREEDOM OF INDIVIDUALS TO THINK, CHOOSE, DIFFERENTIATE AND DISCRIMINATE

    IF AMERICANS CANNOT DISCRIMINATE IN ALL THINGS, AMERICANS CANNOT BE FREE.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    America is and was designed to be a restricted-vote republic.

    The American Founders enjoyed the freedom of discrimination when they established America.

    Holding opinions regarding race is fully constitutional.

    Freed slaves must have been immediately deported, upon the issuance of the unconstitutional emancipation proclamation in 1863, per immigration law that required citizens to be “…free white person(s)….”

    No illegal alien descendants may enjoy rights and freedoms obtained through criminal acts.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Turnout in 1788 was 11.6% by design through restrictions requiring voters to be male, European, 21 with 50 lbs. Sterling or 50 acres.

  6. This whole affair is a result of trying to dictate behavior through the conduit of racism or some other dissociative reason. The ensuing outcome of such thought is loss off free speech, behavior and/or associations. This is just another example of WOKE and its negative consequences, ruling by perceived negatives.

  7. Imagine you pony up $50,000 A YEAR for your kid to go off to college and the people who make $300,000 being administrators turn around and call your kid a racist for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Think of the damn entitled attitude of these elitist paper pushers where they actually despise the white kids that pay their salary.

    I don’t know if the suit will prevail, but I hope the school spends and sweats during the PROLONGED proceedings.

    PS. One of these days a case will bubble up to the SCOTUS and Thomas et al will finally revise NY Times v Sullivan. That case was decided long before we had “activist” journalism and it is about time that even public figures (it is always a conservative) deserve protection from these murderous lies told about them.

      1. Hey “Democrat” Bob, please learn to read and to understand, I said “imagine YOUR kid”. I actually don’t have any kids so why not try to discuss the point I made or else just try to not make a fool of yourself with an ad hominem attack on a site of discussion.

  8. Let’s talk about the slander by the media of the horse patrol unit of Border Patrol at Del Paso.

    There were no whips. Those were split reins, my bane whenever I ride Western. I’m an English rider, and instinctively loosen my fingers to catch the reins at the buckle to go on a loose rein. There is no buckle with split reins, which means I keep dropping my reins the moment I mount.

    The horse patrol unit is invaluable to the BP. They cover more ground, and can pack in water to help stranded people dumped by the drug cartel human smugglers.

    They are also used for crowd control. A few BP would not want to be on foot trying to keep back 15,000 angry, belligerent Haitians who keep getting into fights at the border. The horses help keep the crowds back, but you would need more than they had to control that many people. I saw one rider grab a guy by the shirt, while others just streamed around him.

    With 100 draft horse, they could form a line, move through the area at a walk and clear it.

    A country has the right to decide the qualifications, quantity, and process to immigrate. It is not a human right to demand citizenship of any country you want. There are 7.5 billion people on Earth. A lot of them want to come here. Too many would collapse the economy and environment. Most people on the planet do not share our values. The Taliban alone could ship enough of their supporters to the US to turn a city into a wife beating, woman stoning dystopia. A responsible immigration system would manage the quantity according to the availability of housing, jobs, and benefits. Some years, we’d need more unskilled workers, others we’d need more H1B skilled workers. Instead, it’s a free for all.

    This is the rape of our country. People pour in by the hundreds of thousands, demanding to use our country up. No doesn’t mean no. The country doesn’t have the right to tell them no. They’ll rough the country up if it resists.

    1. Here is a video from a couple of weeks ago of the horse patrol unit tacking up and heading out. Notice that they round up Latino illegal immigrants in the brush. Same split reins. Granted, these guys didn’t rush the horses or fight to pass them. There were no calls of harkening back to the days of mounted slave catchers.

      The media is lying to you. It wants you to have an anti-BP, pro illegal immigration opinion. The media is crafting your vote. Are you sheep?

      https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=988809438603907

  9. OFF TOPIC – Have you noticed how everyone is transfixed on Haitian? What’s happening at the other locations of entry? Have all the other illegals met their quota and stopped coming, not. Like the magician, keep your eye on my right hand, meanwhile the left is picking your pockets.

  10. It’ll be settled. Awful hard to defend such reckless statements about an identifiable group on nonpublic figures. UVA and Duke “rape” cases ring any bells? They ought to and SJW are quaking in their ballet slippers.

  11. Let’s play ball

    Life goes on. In the field, they are part of a team. Looks, throws, catches, hustles. If the team doesn’t field & you’re out there for your self, who are you? No one.

  12. I am not expert enough to ascertain whether or not the students can prevail but I sure am pleased to see them push back against these “woke” totalitarian hypocrites who administrate the modern American University. These totalitarians need to be fought on all fonts and at the very least the CLU President needs to get cancelled himself.

  13. I can see it falling under “per se”, equating allegations of racism with moral turpitude. Bit of a stretch, perhaps, but perhaps not in these times

    1. Accusations of racism can end a person’s career. Mike Barnicle is on MSNBC, rehabilitated from plagiarism. No such luck had he been declared a racist. So yes, it’s treated as moral turpitude.

  14. Whether this requires legal action, I don’t know.
    What I do know, treating your students as guilty is not a good look. I’m sure a friendly sit down to air concerns would be a long term win.

    1. Iowan2:

      The Left has given up on talk (’cause they always lose those battles); it’s all about power and control and servicing their client groups who in turn shill for them and serve as their shock troops. They do it under some virtue banner they get to define to serve their interests. It’s why you get commended for burning a building for BLM but arrested for not wearing a mask. The Administrative State don’t care about protecting no stinkin’ individual rights. They care about denying rights!

      Very burnt sienna shirts of them. Time to wake up and treat them as they treat others.

  15. Don’t know the rights and wrongs of this case, but university administrators certainly have a history of maligning their students with accusatory announcements (see Duke lacrosse).

    The lawsuit points out the arrogance of university administrators.

    As an aside, look up Michael Tracy’s series of columns on the developing Covid situation on universities. He details real arrogance there.

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