WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of its female athlete storytelling series, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) broke the story of Kim Russell, the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College, in an exclusive documentary that exposes Oberlin administrators and athletic department executive staff ridiculing and reprimanding her for sharing a social media post in support of women’s sports and female athletes. Russell describes the experience as being “burned at the stake.”

To tell her story, Russell sought out Independent Women’s Forum, which has been at the forefront of the fight to save women’s sports and counter the radical agenda that seeks to erase women. In breaking her silence, Russell shared secret audio recordings from meetings with Oberlin staff and members of her own team who demeaned and barraged her simply for her opinion — one that she shares with nearly 70% of Americans — that men shouldn’t participate in women’s sports. 

In a documentary IWF produced telling her story, Russell talks about loving her lacrosse student-athletes as her own children. But following an Instagram post where Russell congratulated swimming star Emma Weyant for being the “real winner” of the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships in 2022 after she officially came in second behind UPenn’s Lia Thomas, one of her own lacrosse players reported Russell’s post to Oberlin’s athletic director. The report triggered a series of lengthy disciplinary meetings and a full-fledged character assassination campaign against her involving Oberlin faculty and the women’s lacrosse team.

Evidence now available to the public, the audio recordings depict the onslaught of verbal attacks Kim was met with from Oberlin administrators:

“Unfortunately, you fall into a category of people that are filled with hate in the world.”
“It’s acceptable to have your own opinions, but when they go against your college’s beliefs, it’s a problem. For your employment.”

“What Oberlin College subjected Kim Russell to for simply believing biological truths was nothing short of a modern, Maoist struggle session,” said Andrea Mew, storytelling coordinator at IWF and producer of the documentary.

Amidst the backlash, Russell has continued to work as a coach for Oberlin College, where she is “walking on eggshells.” In the documentary, she acknowledges she is still at risk of being fired, but says that defending the integrity of women’s sports and exposing the college for trying to silence her is worth it. 

Kim Russell’s story is a testament to the aggressive push within institutions to adhere to dogmatic ideology at the expense of fairness and freedom of thought. 

“Russell’s story exposes what can happen when a faculty member dares to differ from the progressive norm,” added Mew. “At Independent Women’s Forum, we’ve elevated the voices of female athletes like Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, Payton McNabb, Kaitlynn and Abbigail Wheeler, Cynthia Monteleone, and more to a national stage. But, to this date very few college coaches have been brave enough to speak out. It’s our hope that by sharing Russell’s story, more coaches, educators, and other school faculty who support women and girls, the integrity of women’s sports, and female athletes’ equal athletic opportunity will know that they’re not alone.”

Watch Coach Kim Russell’s story HERE

IWF’s storytelling program brings unheard voices to the forefront, providing them a platform to share their personal stories, educate the public, and enhance national discourse with common-sense policy solutions. 

To book Coach Kim Russell or IWF’s Andrea Mew for media appearances or interviews, please contact [email protected]

Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.