Japanese university fires cheerleading coach accused of power abuse

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The head coach of Nihon University’s cheerleading club was fired on Thursday, the university announced, in a dismissal apparently related to abuse-of-power claims from a member of the club. 

 For months, the female club member had been informing the university that she had been harassed by the female coach. 
 The private university said the coach was dismissed by its health and physical education council, which is responsible for supervising athletic clubs at the university, because it had concluded that “concerns would arise that guidance of students might be negatively affected.”
 Nihon University’s human rights committee will soon issue its conclusion on the matter. The institution said it cannot reveal details of this case “to protect the privacy of both the female member and the coach.”
 According to a statement released Thursday by a lawyer on behalf of the student, her family said that “the university did not take any action for the last six months despite our requests to handle this issue.”
 In February, the coach told off the student over a factually inaccurate story that the student “tried to make the club cancel a training session on a snowy day by asking a university official to give the coach a phone call.” The coach also verbally abused the student by saying, for example, “I hate cunning idiots,” according to the statement.
 The statement also said that the student was “so mentally defeated she thought about committing suicide,” saying, for example, that other club members said she was “just acting” when she suffered from hyperventilation. The student reportedly remains in poor condition and unable to attend the university.
 The student side reported the issue to the health and physical education council, which refused to mediate by not setting up a meeting with her and the coach, saying it “leaves club issues up to the coaches.”
 The student also sought help from the university’s human rights counseling office, but the problem was not resolved, according to the statement.

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