MICHIGAN — Jenna Bachrouche, a Muslim American, says that she faced religious discrimination by Beckie Francis, the former head coach of Oakland University’s women’s basketball team, when she played for the team, from 2010-2012.
Bachrouche, a native of Farmington Hills, says that during her time on the team, Francis tried to impose her religious beliefs on her and repeatedly attempted to convert her to Christianity.
Francis lost her job on June 12. The University issued a statement on June 21, explaining that an investigation was launched to look into Francis’ behavior, along with other aspects of the program. According to a report, Francis had been on unpaid leave since May 30, after an unidentified individual contacted Oakland University about Francis’ conduct.
Civil rights activists have said that, while there is nothing wrong with coaches being outspoken about their faith, it becomes a problem when they try to impose it on other players. They explain that they violate the Constitution when they do so.
It remains uncertain whether any connections exist between Francis’ firing and the claims that have been made by Bachrouche, as Bachrouche claims that she is not the individual who informed the University about the situation that led to an internal investigation.
Bachrouche is working with the ACLU Michigan to determine a course of action. She now plays for Western Michigan University. Francis is married to Oakland University President Gary Russi, whose resignation will be effective Aug. 1. It’s uncertain whether his resignation is linked to the allegations.