Malik Hall (wearing red hat) watches from the sidelines during a University of Pennsylvania football game in 2017. Hall has filed a suit against Bates College claiming that the school violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as well as providing unsafe housing that caused negative health effects for his three children. Credit: Courtesy of Andy Lewis

The former head coach of the Bates College football team, who became the school’s first Black head coach in 2018, has filed a lawsuit claiming that he faced serious racial discrimination in the three years that he worked at the school.

Malik Hall filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Thursday, according to the Bates Student. Hall is joined in the suit by his wife, Ayesha, and his three children, Asah, Kayah and Malik Jr.

In the claim, Hall alleges that the college treated him in such a way that caused mental anguish, loss of his reputation and opportunity and economic damages, according to the college’s student newspaper. He also claims that Bates College violated Maine’s Human Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by participating in racial discrimination during the time of his employment, participated in defamatory speech about him and were negligent by providing an unsafe housing environment for he and his family to live in.

The home that Hall, his wife and his three children lived in that was provided by the college reportedly had black mold in it. Hall reportedly claims that the college had not provided adequate opportunities to find appropriate housing, and had at first offered him a choice between a housing situation that was too small to accommodate his entire family, or a house that needed renovations.

After accepting the job in 2018, Hall reportedly had to live at a hotel for about a week before moving into a house that had visible, widespread black mold that he had been told that the college had tried to remediate, which caused negative health effects for his three children, according to the Bates Student.

Hall also reported that he had a strained relationship with Bates College’s athletic director, Jason Fein, who had allegedly accused him of using an anti-gay slur, but failed to provide evidence of follow up on the claim. Along with a strained relationship with Fein, Hall also claims that the school’s Title IX Officer Gwen Lexow informed him that he was being accused of sexual assault, but was not informed about the details of the case, including when or where the alleged assault occurred.

Along with reportedly defamatory speech and unresolved communication about the alleged assault, Hall added that he felt as though the college hired him “in an apparent attempt to address its tortured and well-documented record of institutional racism” the Student reported.

Hall has requested a trial by jury in his complaint, along with an injunctive relief — which would allow the circumstances and facts of the case to be presented before damages are determined — and is seeking reinstatement to the position as head coach, which he left in July of 2021.

Hall had previously served as an assistant coach for a number of Division 1 teams before taking the position at Bates College, and prior to taking the position in Lewiston, spent three seasons as the defensive line coach at the University of Pennsylvania.

A college spokesperson reportedly told the Student on Friday that the college had not yet seen the lawsuit, but strongly disagreed with the series of events detailed by the student paper.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.