WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) Storyteller Kim Russell was terminated from her position as Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at Oberlin College and instead reassigned to a newly created position by the university as an Employee Wellness Project Manager – a job which does not involve interaction with students. While a private institution reserves the right to fire or demote any employee at their own discretion, IWF considers this action by Oberlin as clear retaliation for Coach Kim Russell breaking her silence to expose Oberlin’s disciplinary meetings and full-fledged character assassination against her after she weighed in on the national debate over whether men who identify as women should participate in women’s sports. 

In August, IWF broke Coach Kim Russell’s story of what she described as being “burned at the stake” in an exclusive documentary which exposed Oberlin’s administration’s and athletic department’s ridicule and reprimand after Russell shared a 2022 Instagram story on her personal social media account in support of female athletes. 

Today, Russell joined America’s Newsroom to break the news of her termination as Oberlin’s Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach. 

“I’ve been taken out of the role of coach, which is what I have done for 27 years,” Russell told America’s Newsroom anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino.

Oberlin College, in an attempt to curtail additional headlines, told Fox News they did not fire Coach Russell, but rather reassigned and removed her the head coaching position. Oberlin was quick to restrict her access to the team and athletic events with athletes once Russell’s IWF documentary went public, and less than two weeks later she no longer has her beloved coaching job.

I’ve just been blown away by the continued increase in biological men playing in women’s and girls’ sports,” Kim continued. “I’m really passionate about this because the reason we have these opportunities to play and to coach is because of the women who came before me, who fought for Title IX, who fought for us to have these opportunities. I don’t think the younger generation understands that these opportunities weren’t here years ago.”

Russell concluded the interview, asking the critical question: “If we are going to allow biological males to compete in women’s and girls’ sports, why do we even have women’s and girls’ sports, why do we have Title IX, and why do we have legislation for women?”

Following the Instagram post where Russell congratulated decorated swimmer 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 Will “Lia” Thomas, Russell was reported by one of her own lacrosse players to Oberlin’s athletic director. The report triggered a series of lengthy disciplinary meetings to which Russell had no choice but to comply with faculty and the entire lacrosse team. Russell recorded the audio of these meetings, which were released exclusively in IWF’s documentary. 

“It’s acceptable to have your own opinions, but when they go against your college’s beliefs, it’s a problem. For your employment,” one administrator is heard saying in the recorded audio.

Amidst personal intimidation and censorship, Russell has remained both dedicated to her student-athletes and passionate about protecting the integrity of the sport she loves. Russell sought out IWF’s documentary series, which is part of its female athlete storytelling series, to bring her voice to the forefront of policy discussions about protecting women’s privacy and spaces. Oberlin’s termination of Coach Russell represents an ongoing assault on single-sex opportunities. 

May Mailman, Senior Legal Fellow at Independent Women’s Law Center, said, “Oberlin College has made clear that standing up for women is grounds for dismissal. Oberlin used to pride itself on providing trailblazing opportunities for women. In the year 2023 it has turned its back on us.”

Lia Thomas’ former teammate and IWF’s Stand with Women Spokeswoman and Advisor Paula Scanlan, said, “Hearing Kim Russell is no longer allowed to interact with students is so disappointing. It’s unbelievable that saying women’s sports are for females only would lead Oberlin College to take such an extreme step — it’s a reprimand and punishment.”

Watch Coach Kim Russell’s story HERE

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