Francis’ attorney ‘We’re contemplating our options’

By Scott Wolchek

Beckie Francis, who was fired from Oakland University June 12, finally has a copy of her termination record that isn’t largely obscured by black permanent marker. 

The former women’s basketball coach won a round in circuit court late last week when Judge Martha D. Anderson ruled that OU must provide her with a less-redacted version of the internal investigation report that led to her firing. 

Francis was also awarded legal fees.

Deborah Gordon, the attorney representing Francis, said her client had been asking to see the files for more than five months and finally had to sue the university to get them. 

The original copies of the reports were, according to Gordon, “virtually 100 percent redacted.” In other words, most of the document was blacked out. 

Gordon is satisfied with the results.

“I’m very pleased,” Gordon said. “The judge obviously followed the law.”

OU’s attorney, Robert Boonin, who practices with Butzel Long in Ann Arbor, had concerns about the judge’s decision.

“We were pleased that the judge upheld many of the redactions,” Boonin said. “That was about half of the report. To the part that the judge un-redacted, we’re disappointed the judge did so without listening to the issues we raised about student privacy.”

Gordon has seen the latest version of the report and said she doesn’t think it support the allegations thrown around by the media that suggest Francis of emotional abuse.

“It’s mainly about her wanting people to be fit,” Gordon said. “Everything she did in that regard seemed to be appropriate. I think there’s no just cause for having terminated her.”

Francis’ statute of limitations expires Nov. 30. In other words, if she decides to take legal action against the university, it will have to be soon.

 “Right now we’re contemplating our options,” Gordon said.

Boonin declined to make any predictions.

“I really can’t speculate as to that,” Boonin said. “But we certainly are contemplating our right to appeal.”

 

 

Contact Editor-in-Chief Scott Wolchek via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @scottwolchek