EdCC athletes file discrimination suit


Herald Writer

An Oklahoma law firm that specializes in sexual discrimination cases has filed a federal lawsuit against Edmonds Community College, alleging the school is violating the rights of softball team members.

At the center of the lawsuit is an on-campus construction project that claims the women’s softball field and forces them to play at a local high school.

The class action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, names the EdCC Board of Directors and President Jack Oharah as defendants. Five EdCC softball players brought the suit, which does not seek damages.

In court papers, the softball players allege their rights are being violated under Title IX, which bans sexual discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal money, and the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The softball players allege the college provides superior locker rooms, practice facilities and competition facilities for male athletes.

Sharron Sellers, EdCC director of communications and marketing, said the college has not yet seen the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 27.

Space is at a premium on the Lynnwood campus. EdCC is adding a higher education center to its campus where students from EdCC and Central Washington University will be able to take classes in the same building.

EdCC is working with the Edmonds School District and city of Lynnwood to replace the field used by the women’s softball team and the men’s and women’s soccer teams, Sellers said.

"The construction of a new facility created a real need for a new parking site on campus, and the college identified the current soccer field as the best location for this site," Sellers said.

The plan is to renovate and upgrade the Lynnwood High School athletic field and provide transportation for the college softball players.

The fact that the women’s team won’t have an on-campus field and must share space on a field that is not the same quality is inequitable, said Samuel Schiller, an Oklahoma attorney representing the players.

"They just don’t have a home field," Schiller said. "That’s all there is to it.

"Look at their fields," Schiller said. "What has happened is they had a baseball field on campus, and they had a softball field that wasn’t as nice but it was at least on campus. They tore down the softball field to make room for a parking lot. So they moved the girls to Lynnwood High School … (and) it’s clearly an inferior field.

"It is important to note that the girls are not seeking damages, although there is certainly nothing preventing them from doing so," Schiller said. "They do not seek a windfall, but only desire to see the problems resolved, not just for themselves, but also for those who follow them."

One of the players named in the lawsuit, Marylynne Zaugg, a second-year player at EdCC, said the team wants its own field, preferably on or near campus.

"At this point, a field that is the same standard as the guys would be nice," she said.

It is difficult to drive by the area that was once the field, she said.

Zaugg liked to work on it with her teammates for the feeling of ownership it instilled in the team. She recalled the time her team went out between games on a rainy day and bought 40 bags of kitty litter to dry the field.

The team can’t experience that same feeling with a field miles from campus that belongs to the school district, she said.

Meanwhile, Sellers said the college values women’s athletics.

"Edmonds Community College has a longstanding commitment to women’s athletics. Our commitment is genuine and meaningful under the law. We agree that women’s sports have significant educational value and that the benefits of athletics are great for both men and women."

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Herald publisher Rudi Alcott
A note from the publisher

The Daily Herald publisher Rudi Alcott discusses our new publishing schedule and newspaper delivery by mail.

Locals from the group Safe Lynnwood gather in front of the Ryann Building on 196th Street SW to protest the opening of a methadone clinic in the building on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Despite controversy, Lynnwood opioid treatment center opens its doors

For weeks, protesters have objected to the center opening near Little League fields and a Boys and Girls Club.

CEO Amy King standing outside of a Pallet shelter. (Courtesy of Pallet)
After rapid rise, Everett’s Pallet hits milestone: 100 shelter villages

Temporary home manufacturer Pallet hires locals who have “experienced homelessness, substance abuse or the justice system.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Boil water advisory in effect for 75 Snohomish homes

A water main break resulted in outages and possible contamination Sunday. Service was expected to return by Wednesday.

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez speaks at his sentencing at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Driver in fatal I-5 crash in Arlington gets 10 years

Ismael Cruz-Sanchez had a lengthy history with impaired driving. He pleaded guilty to killing Jason Vogan, 45.

The building at 307 Olympic Avenue, seen on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, is home to the office of Omni-Mana Services in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Charges: Arlington drug trafficker masqueraded as a pastor

Prosecutors say Steve Parker led a double life, helping people in addiction while dealing drugs across Western Washington.

Most Read