Lisa Howe: Belmont used private email message for statement

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The ongoing saga surrounding Belmont University and its dismissal of women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe has taken a new twist. Jerome Boettcher of the Nashville City Paper reports that Belmont University used a private email message sent by Howe in a press release announcing her resignation.

Howe, who was fired just days after informing her team that her same-sex partner was expecting a child, said she was unaware the university would use that statement in the release. The next day Belmont issued another release, saying that Howe had not resigned but that the two parties had reached a mutual agreement to conclude her employment with the university.

“I was ready to move on because of circumstances beyond my control about which I cannot speak,” Howe said in a statement her attorney Abby Rubenfeld emailed to The City Paper on Wednesday. “I phrased that statement very carefully so [as] not to bring any negative attention to me or Belmont. Then, I sent the statement to a co-worker in the athletic department, not an administrator or a major media publication. I thought I was doing what was best for my future. I did not realize Belmont would use it in the manner that they have.”

Since the announcement two weeks ago, numerous community leaders—including major Belmont donor Mike Curb and Metro Council leaders Jamie Hollin and Mike Jameson—have publicly expressed criticism against Belmont’s policies. The story has gained national attention as well. Howe said she will be featured in a piece on Sunday that will air on ESPN’s Outside the Lines and will also do a talk radio interview on Saturday.