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The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

BREAKING NEWS: Bates Agreed to Pay an Unspecified Amount to the Children of Former Head Football Coach

These damages were paid as part of settling all of his claims against the college
Former Head Football Coach Malik Hall courtesy of the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Bates agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the three children of former head football coach Malik Hall as a settlement of Hall’s claims that they suffered adverse health effects from living in the Bates provided home. 

Hall is the first Black, head football coach in the college’s history and served from July 2018 through July 2021 when Bates announced that Hall would not return for the fall season, just weeks before preseason began. He sued the college April 7, 2022 for nine counts of employment discrimination, retaliation and negligence as a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court District of Maine. His wife and three minor children joined him in the lawsuit on the negligence claim. 

The first four counts allege racial discrimination by the college violating the Maine Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, the Maine Human Rights Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and §1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The fifth count alleges defamation against Hall. Finally, counts six through nine allege negligence by the college as a result of the health issues suffered by Hall’s wife and three minor children.

The complaint alleges that the college knowingly suggested Hall and his family move into a home that had been previously and unsuccessfully treated for black mold. According to the joint motion filed on behalf of the College and Hall to approve so much of the settlement as required the college to make payments to each of Hall’s minor children, Kayah Hall was diagnosed with a mold allergy and referred to a pediatric asthma and allergy specialist as a result of her alleged black mold exposure. Additionally, Malik Hall II allegedly experienced “frequent, long-lasting nosebleeds” and Asah Hall’s treatment included visits to her pediatrician. 

The motion filed today states that, “The parties have resolved the claims asserted in this case in their entirety, which resolution includes the payment of monies to the minor children listed as Plaintiffs in the above-captioned action.”

This indicates that the case is over and there will be no further action in regards to the claims asserted in this case. Any information about possible damages paid on account of Hall’s individual claims is not publicly available. 

Both the college and Attorney-at-Law Kelly Hoffman, representing Hall, provided the same comment in response to the decision, “Bates College and Malik Hall and his family have mutually agreed to resolve their dispute.”

The joint motion was filed by Hoffman on Jan. 21 and was unopposed by the defendant. The judge is now asked to approve the payment and handling of the payment. After it is approved, the college will pay the damages owed to Hall’s three children. It is unknown whether Hall won any individual damages.

Below is a timeline of Hall’s hiring and employment at Bates College as well as the allegations levied against him during his tenure as written in his initial complaint.

Timeline of employment & allegations against Hall

Please note that because the case never went through discovery or a trial the court has not established the truth of any of the allegations against Hall. This is a summary of the alleged events as written in Hall’s initial complaint. 

June 16, 2018

On-going housing issues (negligence claim): Hall signed a contract agreeing to take the job as the Head Football Coach at Bates College starting that July. Because he has three children and a wife, he requested that he be able to view and move into an acceptable home as soon as possible following contract negotiations. 

June 18, 2018

On-going housing issues (negligence claim): Hall agreed to move into a house on Ware Street which was large enough for his family, but required a significant amount of work to be “habitable” according to his complaint. Former Vice President of Campus Life Josh McIntosh “assured and reassured Mr. Hall that any work necessary for health and safety purposes, among others, would be done at the college’s expense” according to the complaint. 

Following the move, “Mr. Hall learned that the college had previously—and unsuccessfully— attempted to remediate black mold in the house,” according to the complaint.

June 24, 2018

The nepotism allegation (discrimination claim): Hall informed Director of Athletics Jason Fein and McIntosh that Jamier Hall, his brother, would be arriving at Bates to serve as the team’s video coordinator. This was allegedly approved during and after the interview process. 

According to the complaint, “Mr. Hall was surprised and offended when [Director of Athletics] Fein accused him of a lack of transparency and of engaging in nepotism by hiring Jamier Hall.”

Hall agreed to hire Jamier Hall as a volunteer due to their urgent need for a video coordinator.

August 16, 2018

The anti-gay slur allegation (discrimination claim): Hall was confronted by Fein about an audio recording of him using an anti-gay slur while speaking to the football team. Hall immediately denied the accusation and asked to hear the recording.

“Vice President Fein did not then—or at any later time—produce the alleged recording and, in fact, nobody associated with the college ever again spoke to Mr. Hall about this accusation,” according to the complaint. There was allegedly no investigation conducted as to whether the allegation was true. 

August 22, 2018

The prayer incident (discrimination claim): Mr. Hall was instructed to remove prayer from his practice schedule by Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator for Bates Celine Cunningham. Cunningham said that players might feel it is a mandatory activity and that Hall had created a coercive environment. Prior to this accusation, Hall alleges that no investigation had been conducted into the use of prayer in team activities. In an effort to avoid conflict, Hall removed prayer from the practice schedule and suggested that the multi-faith chaplain might lead the team in optional prayer before games.

August 2019

On-going housing issues (negligence claim): Mr. Hall reported the black mold issues to the college in good faith, providing photos of the extensive infiltration of the house’s basement. He also informed the college that he was taking his family to the doctor to determine whether there were any health issues as a result of the mold and had contacted the company SERVPRO to remediate the mold problem.

Following medical appointments, all three of his children have allegedly suffered health effects including difficulty breathing and nose bleeds. 

September 13, 2019

Sexual assault allegation (discrimination claim): Title IX Officer Gwen Lexow informed Hall that he was being accused of sexual assault. In the meeting he received no information as to the who, when, where or the alleged nature of the assault.

Coach Hall was very disturbed by the allegations leveled by the college and strongly denied them. 

According to the complaint, “Mr. Hall explained that as a Black football coach at a predominantly white school, any accusation of sexual impropriety on his part—even one as nebulous and unfounded as the one at issue—carried the likelihood of both ruining his career and placing a stigma on his family, friends, and the student-athletes whom he coached.”

September 16, 2019

Meeting with Dr. Noelle Chaddock (retaliation claim): Hall met with the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Noelle Chaddock to report “in good faith that the racial discrimination he was facing was unlawful and wrong, and to discuss the racially charged accusations made against him and how he might—in light of everything that had occurred to date—be able to move forward at the college in a productive manner,” according to the complaint. 

September 30, 2019

Allegations relating to Patterson (discrimination claim): Football team’s offensive coordinator Custavious, also a Black man, informed Hall that Campus Safety had recently attempted to force their way into his house at 2:00 a.m. following the alleged report of a woman screaming from inside his home. Hall felt that these allegations affected his character as well since it was against a member of his coaching staff and so soon after the allegations against him. 

Hall contacted the Director of Campus Safety, Douglass Morency, about the incident. However, Morency separated from employment and according to Hall, he hasn’t received any updates on the status of the investigation or whether it ever occurred. 

December 10, 2019

Sex for recruits (discrimination claim): “Title IX Officer Lexow informed Mr. Patterson that he had been accused of soliciting college students to have sex with football players whom he and Mr. Hall had recruited to the College,” according to the complaint. Hall was also implicated in this allegation. 

According to the complaint neither Patterson nor Hall had any involvement in selecting the students who showed the recruits around Bates. Instead, they had allegedly asked the Office of Intercultural Education (OIE) to ensure that when there were recruits who were Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), they were given tours by BIPOC. As such, the OIE allegedly selected the students to conduct these tours and neither coach was involved in the process. 

According to the complaint, “The allegations against Mr. Hall and Mr. Patterson were, and are, untrue and implicate centuries of negative tropes surrounding Black men and their attempts to exist in white communities.”

May 5, 2020

Continued contract issue (retaliation claim): Hall inquired about the timeline for when negotiations to renew his contract would begin. He was informed that they may be delayed due to extra resources being devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 7, 2020

Virtual Jr. Day video (retaliation claim): Hall requested routine approval for a recruitment video for high school students, but did not receive approval or explanation despite several follow-up requests

May 8, 2020

Fundraising information poster (retaliation claim): Hall requested approval for a poster to foster excitement and donations from alumni for the football program, but never received it.

February 4, 2021

Continued contract issue (retaliation claim): Hall contacted Bates to express concern that his contract was ending that June and no discussion about a renewal of the contract had occurred.

February 14, 2021

Continued contract issue (retaliation claim): Hall was invited to a Zoom meeting with Bates where all of his attempts to discuss his contract renewal were rebuffed.

April 4, 2021

Continued contract issue (retaliation claim): Hall had a follow-up Zoom meeting with administrators where he “expressed discomfort with the fact that his contract was set to expire in a matter of months and no negotiations regarding a new contract had yet begun.” Despite his efforts, no progress was made regarding a new contract. 

May 11, 2021

Continued contract issue (retaliation claim): Hall had a final Zoom meeting with administrators to discuss his contract. On the call Hall was informed for the first time that there would not be contract negotiations. Furthermore, the college told Hall that “different than anyone else’s at the college and that, as a result, its attorney(s) would need to review the matter before any further discussions could take place,” according to the complaint. 

June, 2021

Hall files complaint: Hall filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

July, 2021

Bates announced that Hall would not be returning as Head Football Coach for the following season. 

April 7, 2022

Hall files suit: Hall filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Maine against the college claiming he faced “severe racial discrimination” during his tenure leading the football program.

December 7, 2022

Motion to dismiss and motion to strike: On Dec. 7, 2022 the United States District Court District of Maine largely rejected  Bates’ motion to dismiss all nine counts and a motion to strike language and documents pertaining to the college’s discrimination. Count V, which alleged defamation against Hall, was dismissed by the court because it lacked all the essential elements of a defamation claim.

The language and documents in question were the phrase “tortured and well-documented record of institutional racism” as found in Hall’s initial complaint, an open letter to President Spencer sent June 10, 2020, a letter in response from President Spencer sent five days later, a relevant news article and a Black at Bates instagram post relaying an racist incident occurring in the Athletics office.

January 21, 2024

Settlement: Bates agreed to pay an unspecified amount to the three children of Hall to compensate them for the health effects they suffered from living in the Bates provided home. 

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About the Contributor
Ella Beiser, Editor-in-Chief
Ella is a Junior from Chicago double majoring in Politics and Hispanic Studies. In her free time, Ella enjoys hosting a WRBC radio show, working in the greenhouse and biking around Lewiston. She is the Editor in Chief of The Student and previously served as an Assistant News Editor and Assistant Features Editor for The Student. She freelances for her local newspaper the South Side Weekly, has been published in the Maine Monitor and Vocalo Radio and in summer 2023 she was a reporting intern for the Lewiston Sun Journal.

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