Today it’s reported that after 2 1/2 hours of deliberation, a federal court jury in Florida found that Florida Gulf Coast University did not violate Title IX’s prohibition on retaliation when President Wilson Bradshaw demoted Bonnie Yegidis from her position as provost. Specifically, the jury found that Yegidis did not present enough evidence to prove the first required element for a retaliation claim, that she engaged in protected conduct by blowing the whistle on discrimination. Yegidis had alleged that she was fired for urging the President to take seriously the complaints about Title IX violations presented by the university’s female coaches. This article in the Naples Daily News suggests that the jury might not have seen her as whistleblower because FGCU presented evidence that Bradshaw already knew about the Title IX concerns and Yegidis was not telling him things that others weren’t already.
Yegidis, who is now a Professor of Social Work at the University of South Florida, has not said whether she plans to appeal the verdict. She did tell the press that she’s disappointed in the verdict and hopes that it doesn’t “send a message to people — to men and women — that they can’t bring cases forward.”