College Coach Quits After Being Accused Of Making ‘Microaggressive Comments’ About Black Cheerleader’s Hairstyle

Cheerleader refused to remove hair from bonnet during practice because long braids could hit teammate in the face.
Stylish afro girl with red braided hair dancing.
wagnerokasaki via Getty Images

A coach at a small college in Ottawa, Kansas, has resigned after being accused of making “microaggressive comments” about a black cheerleader’s hairstyle, dismissing her from practice, and then throwing her off the squad.

According to a news release issued on Saturday, “Ottawa University’s head cheer and STUNT coach Casey Jamerson has chosen to step down from her position in the aftermath of allegations lodged by a student member of her team.”

Still, Jamerson denied the accusations, and the university’s internal investigation “concluded no violation of University policy occurred.”

The announcement indicates that Coach Jamerson’s resignation stems from a January 5 incident on Ottawa’s campus, located about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City.

“As I reflect over the events of the past three weeks, I can only conclude that my further involvement with the program is likely to continue to be a distraction for the team, our coaching and athletic staff, and other members of the OU community,” Jamerson said in a statement.

According to the K.C. Star, Talyn Jefferson, 20-year-old junior, told the outlet that “she refused to remove a hair bonnet during cheerleading practice because she worried her long braids could hit a teammate in the face.”

The Star reports that “a friend of Jefferson posted on Twitter about what happened,” and “others on social media criticized the coach” for what she allegedly said “about Black people’s hairstyles.” Jefferson’s unnamed friend appeared to post screenshots of a private conversation between the two with Jefferson’s name redacted.

More from the Star:

In the tweet, Jefferson tells her friend that the coach told her, “You shouldn’t have gotten 7 foot long hair then! She proceeds to tell me that my box braids are a hindrance to my performance and they are not collegiate and I never should have gotten them in the first place.”

Jefferson, who had been on the team for more than two years, claimed in an interview with the Star that Coach Jamerson kicked her off the squad “because I was standing up for myself against microaggressive comments that the coach made toward me, that made me and others very uncomfortable.”

The outlet went on to report that Jefferson said she never intended for her story to end up on Twitter, but was happy it did.

Jefferson reportedly took to Twitter to squash rumors that she had been expelled, explaining she “was withdrawn from the school due to personal financial issues.”

The university said “false and misleading information” about the controversy had been posted to social media “and then picked up by certain media outlets,” which subjected Coach Jamerson “to unfortunate vitriol, harassment and threatening comments online, via email, and by phone.” Jamerson went on to file a police report.

Dr. Reggies Wenyika, president of Ottawa University’s Kansas campus, said on Saturday he reluctantly accepted Coach Jamerson’s resignation, calling the chain of recent events “extremely unfortunate to say the least.”

“To her credit, Coach Jamerson cares too much about her team and our school to allow that to continue,” Dr. Wenyika said. “We appreciate this unselfish act by our coach even while we stand firmly on our previous statements as factual and true in every respect. Those who believe otherwise are simply wrong, uninformed, and have promoted dangerous attacks and falsehoods damaging many.”

Related: California Becomes First State To Ban Racial ‘Hair Discrimination’ Against Braids, Cornrows, And Dreadlocks