Eight months after she first sued UNC for creating a hostile work environment, the former student-athlete learning specialist reached a settlement with the University during mediation this week. Willingham will receive monetary compensation as part of the settlement.
She originally sought to return to the University, according to the lawsuit she filed in June.
“I feel good. I think that it was time to get back to the real issue at stake here, which is that the athletes need to get a real education and we need to fix the college sports system,” said Willingham in an interview Tuesday. “That’s where I need to focus my efforts, and we all need to focus on fixing that as a problem.”
Details of the settlement will be released after they’re approved by Judge Terrence Boyle.
Willingham declined to say how much she will receive from the suit. In her original complaint, Willingham asked for at least $10,000.
“We believe the settlement is in the best interest of the University and allows us to move forward and fully focus on other important issues,” said Rick White, the associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs.
Willingham said she was pleased with how mediation went. She said Chancellor Carol Folt was present during the mediation, along with both sides’ teams of lawyers.
Willingham first gained recognition in January 2014, when she released research that showed 60 percent of the 183 athletes in her study could only read between a fourth- and eighth-grade reading level.