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Report on USF due this month

Ex-judge says his investigation into discrimination claims is in its final drafts.

By ANTONYA ENGLISH

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000


TAMPA -- The former state supreme court judge hired by the University of South Florida to investigate its policies and procedures related to discrimination claims said Wednesday he will have a final report this month.

Joseph W. Hatchett, recently retired from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was hired by USF president Judy Genshaft in September to investigate allegations of racism and retaliation in the women's basketball program.

Genshaft asked Hatchett to get involved after former player Dione Smith filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the university and women's basketball coach Jerry Ann Winters on Aug. 24.

Seven other former players have filed lawsuits, and Hatchett has focused his investigation on the policies and procedures the university has followed in handling its discrimination claims. Hatchett said Wednesday his work is nearly completed.

"It will be done by the end of the year," he said from his law office in Tallahassee. "We're in the final drafts now."

Hatchett has said he will not determine the merits of the accusations made in the lawsuits, but he has not ruled out further investigations.

Meanwhile, Winters is awaiting a decision on her appeal of the university's Equal Opportunity Affairs office finding that she retaliated against Smith for participating in an internal review of racism allegations. A decision on her appeal is expected by Dec. 18.

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