Former Athletic Department Official Filed EEOC Complaint Against University

May 22, 2009

Elizabeth Williams, a former athletic department official at Binghamton University, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that two co-workers engaged in “egregious acts of sexual misconduct.”
Williams, who is currently the Regional Director of Major Gifts for Binghamton University Foundation, claimed specifically that senior associate athletic director Jason Siegel and the assistant athletic director for development Chris Lewis directed sexually charged comments at Williams beginning in 2008.
Siegel has countered in the media that there is “absolutely no basis to any of the allegations.”
The university, through spokesperson Gail Glover, has countered that it has “policies that prohibit harassment and we investigate allegations of such behavior promptly and thoroughly.”
Williams, who is represented by James A. Gregory of the law firm Hogan, Sarzynski, Lynch, Surowka & DeWind, made the following specific allegations:
• The sexual harassment began on her first day of employment when Lewis told her she needed to engage a donor at a Binghamton University game because the donor liked “chesty, loud-mouthed women.”
• Short there after, Williams attended a dinner in New York with Siegel, Lewis and major donors from a fraternity, where one of the donors began putting $100 bills on the table and told her to stop him when there was enough in the pile for her to have sex with him.
• Siegel and Lewis participated in the harassment that night by speculating on her chest size, while Lewis suggested she strip for the donor at a bachelor party.
• Siegel grabbed her breast in an elevator after the dinner and continued his behavior at work, staring at her chest and suggesting sexual innuendo about “using her assets.”
Attorney Gregory said Williams initially reported her claims to Binghamton University Ombudsman Francine Montemurro, and was directed to the Office of Affirmative Action. After meeting with Director of Affirmative Action Valerie Hampton and Schultz on Feb. 19, Williams was informed the university would investigate the matter.
Ultimately, the university reassigned her from the athletics department to her home and said she should no longer appear at university athletic events, according to Gregory. About a month later, the attorney said his client was informed that the investigation had not been completed. What’s more, even if the university did impose formal discipline on the two employees, it could be years away.


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