by Rachel Herron (BET)
A Black college student from Dallas is suing the University of Cincinnati and the school’s volleyball coach after she was kicked off the team for posting pictures to her Instagram that the coach deemed “too sexy,” according to a suit filed last week in federal court.
Former University of Cincinnati volleyball player Shalom Ifeanyi, 19, filed the suit which accuses the coach and the school of racial and sex-based discrimination.
According to the suit, Ifeanyi was told to delete several Instagram photos by her coach, Molly Alvey, because they were too “seductive.”
During a meeting between Alvey and Ifeanyi in June 2017, the coach pointed to one of the college student’s Instagram photos and commented on her breasts.
“When the football players see this, what do you think they see? They see your breasts. It’s seductive,” Alvey said to Ifeanyi during the meeting, according to the lawsuit.
Ifeanyi said she followed her coache’s orders and deleted the photo. However, a few days later, Alvey texted Ifeanyi and told her to delete other photos wherein she was wearing a tank top.
Ifeanyi replied and said although she would delete the photos, she felt she was being shamed.
“Ok Coach However I feel like I’m being body shamed because I’m not flat chested. I’m not trying to show my boobs coach, I can’t make them go away. In these pictures I just got my hair done and really liked my makeup and thought the pictures were pretty. My teammates have swimsuit photos that are more revealing than me in a tank top. I will delete them if you really want me too [sic] but I feel like because people say I’m pretty I’m being sexualized. There’s a history of black women because of their bodies being sexualized and that’s what appears to be happening to me. I can’t help the way I’m built. I am not trying to argue, I just feel like I have to be flat chested or really skinny in order to post,” she replied.
The lawsuit claims the coach didn’t respond to the text. About a week later, the suit says Alvey called Ifeanyi into her office and dismissed her from the team because of their “different philosophies.”
After her dismissal, Ifeanyi transferred to another university without an athletic scholarship like she had at the University of Cincinnati, the suit says. NCAA rules don’t allow Ifeanyi to play volleyball for the 2018-2019 season, the year of her transfer, reported The Dallas Morning News.
Nearly 18,000 people have signed an online petition urging the university to fire Alvey.
A spokesman for the university’s athletic department told The Cincinnati Enquirer it had no comment about the lawsuit.