‘A Boys’ Club’: Former UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun, administrators accused of Title IX violations at St. Joseph 


Jim Calhoun speaks at an event honoring Dee Rowe in the Bushnell Center in 2017. Calhoun was implicated in Title IX violations for creating an unsafe work environment at the University of St. Joeseph. File Photo / The Daily Campus

Jim Calhoun speaks at an event honoring Dee Rowe in the Bushnell Center in 2017. Calhoun was implicated in Title IX violations for creating an unsafe work environment at the University of St. Joeseph. File Photo / The Daily Campus

The former associate athletic director at the University of St. Joseph is filing a Title IX lawsuit against the university, naming former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and his assistant Glen Miller in the allegations, according to the Hartford Courant.

Jaclyn Piscitelli, who was fired in June, alleges that her workplace turned into “a male-dominated, hostile work environment” when Calhoun and Miller were brought onboard two years ago to coach the new men’s basketball team after USJ became a co-ed university, according to the New Haven Register.

Also named in the lawsuit is former athletic director Bill Cardarelli, who announced in April that he would be stepping down to fulfill the role of director of internships and sports management in the undergraduate sport management program. 

Piscitelli claimed Cardarelli allegedly “gave Calhoun and his team preferential treatment including by diverting resources from women’s sports to do so.”   

The 13-page complaint details numerous occasions where the men involved made derogatory comments toward Piscitelli, including one called the “K-Cup Incident.”  

According to the lawsuit, Calhoun knocked a large number of single-serve K-Cups on the ground and stepped on them, then forced Piscitelli to clean them up and told her if he had made the mess at home, his wife would have taken care of it. He also pressed Piscitelli to say whether or not she would clean up after her husband under similar circumstances, according to the Hartford Courant.  

Cardarielli also allegedly witnessed the incident and told Piscitelli afterward that he “found it amusing,” according to the lawsuit.  

Another incident described in the lawsuit claims that when Calhoun called Piscitelli into his office to complain about another female employee, Mary Cooper, he referred to her as a “b*tch” and said “when Mary asks me what to do with work I hand her, I want to tell her to shove it up her ass.” 

Piscitelli also alleged that both Calhoun and Miller made comments that made her feel extremely uncomfortable, such as when Calhoun told her “well, you’re certainly hot” and Miller told her he’d “swipe left, too” after saying Piscitelli did not smile enough, referring to the feature on Tinder that allows you to swipe left if you are not sexually or romantically interested in the person in the profile.  

Piscitelli claimed also that men in the Athletics Department were given preferred treatment over the women. Moreover, several men would “frequently leave work to play golf with Calhoun during the workday,” according to CBS Sports

Piscitelli, who had regularly met with USJ’s Vice President for Student Affairs Ken Bedini about athletics matters, had complained to him about the growing misconduct in the department, claiming it had become “a boys’ club,” the lawsuit states.  

Bedini was told by Piscitelli that she had been considering seeking other employment in the spring 2019 semester due to the behavior in the department, to which Bedini responded that she “better not f*cking be here [in the fall].” Piscitelli was later fired, with Bedini citing that the department was “moving in a new direction.”  

Magdalena Witkor, an attorney for Madsen, Prestley and Parenteau, the law firm representing Piscitelli, said the way in which Piscitelli was treated for speaking out was wrong on all accords, according to the Herald Publicist.  

“That work environment was swiftly and drastically transformed into one that was hostile and demeaning toward women once Jim Calhoun and Glen Miller joined the staff of USJ athletics,” Witkor said. “Rather than protecting Jackie and her female colleagues from further harassment and discrimination, USJ not only condoned this ‘boys’ club,’ it fired Jackie in retaliation for daring to speak out against it.” 

Calhoun said he did not have any comment when contacted by the Hartford Courant on Wednesday.  

The UConn men’s basketball team won three NCAA national championships, played in four Final Fours and won seven Big East tournament championships under Calhoun’s coaching from 1986 to 2012, according to Sports Reference. He retired from the university in 2012.  

University spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said UConn will not be making any comments on the issue. An investigation into the violations is pending at USJ.  

Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at taylor.harton@uconn.edu.

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