OCU soccer coach ‘forced to resign,’ players say
The players on Oakland City University’s women’s soccer team are speaking out on the departure of their coach this week. In a statement posted to the team’s Instagram page, the players said Coach Katie Harrison was “forced to resign based on her sexuality.”
Harrison joined the Christian higher education institution in Gibson County in 2014 as an assistant coach and was promoted to head coach in 2016.
OCU confirmed to our partners at WEHT-TV that Harrison resigned on Wednesday, but Associate Vice President for Development Todd Mosby provided little more information regarding the situation.
“The University is not at liberty to discuss employment policies between employer and employee,” Mosby told WEHT. “I will point you to the link below from the OCU website, which outlines our ‘Life in Community Statement.'”
The Life in Community Statement, according to the university, “identifies the expectations for living in the OCU university community.” The document includes a section titled “Statement on Human Sexuality,” which says:
“We believe that human beings, male and female, are created in the image of God to flourish in community, and that intimate sexual relations are intended for persons in a marriage relationship between one man and one woman. We expect our university community to maintain relationships that align with this sexual ethic.“
In their statement on Instagram, the OCU women’s soccer players spoke out against what they said was a forced resignation resulting from the new “Statement on Human Sexuality” policy.
“A woman who has caused no problems, been nothing but respectful towards the university, and put her heart, soul, and over a decade into building the soccer program we have today. We are shocked and angry with this new policy as our coaches sexuality has never been a factor regarding her job. This is blatant discrimination. A Christian community that believes ‘thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself’ has done a remarkable job of rejecting their Christian values.
However, you will not find this policy on the Oakland City University website nor in the handbook. They will simply wait until they discover your sexuality to determine if you will be employed or not.
With that being said, we are beyond thankful for Coach Katie Harrison for being such a huge part of our lives and such an amazing coach. We will miss her greatly, and the soccer program will not be the same without her. We are disappointed in the Oakland City Councilman who approved this policy and only hope they can learn to accept those who differ from themselves.“
Harrison’s profile remains on the OCU website. She graduated from OCU in 2014 and played on the university’s soccer team for four years, earning “Most Improved Player” honors in 2013.
Oakland City is located about 40 miles northeast of Evansville and about 135 miles southwest of Indianapolis.