Tommia Dean is a former cheerleader that cheered at Kennesaw State University. Dean recently reach a settlement with the prestigious University without going to court after she filed a lawsuit against them.
Tommia Dean filed a lawsuit against Kennesaw State University back in 2018 after she underwent a great deal of backlash when she publicly protested the national anthem along with four other cheerleaders on her team. The incident in question happened at a football game in September of 2017. Dean called upon the then Kennesaw State University president, Sam Olens, as a defendant in the case. She also requested Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked in the athletic department at the time to be defendants in her case as well.
At the football game in September of 2017, the national anthem came over the speakers. While almost everyone else on the fields and in the stands stood during the national anthem, Dean and four other students decided to take a knee and bow during the song instead. They did this as an act of protest and in hopes to gain more rights for the African American community. Not only did she face a lot of backlash from her peers as a result of her actions, the school was also not at all pleased by how the incident occurred. Dean faced backlash from the school as well as they threatened to kick her out of school and not allow her to return which could in return mess up her future.
Dean brought the lawsuit against them and was fully prepared to take them to court over their actions as she felt her right to free speech had been taken away. After some time, she and the school administrators came to a compromise.
The school granted Tomia Dan a settlement of $145,000 dollars and in exchange, she dropped the lawsuit. The purpose of this agreement was to help make sure that there would not be any future controversy, to help keep her or the school from having to pay attorney fees, court costs, and other litigation expenses. This compromise also stated that her admission would not be affected, and with the admission that the KSU defendants in question did violate the rights of Dean and that they aced outside of the law.
In the settlement papers, the stipulations state that Dean will have $93,000 granted to her and she will use the other $52,000 to cover the legal costs that occurred over the time of the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, it claims that the school officials did not allow Dean and her other four teammates to be on the field at all when the national anthem was played in the following games after they initially protested. It also stated that the reason the University president at that time and state Rep. Earl Ehrhart and the Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren did all of this and put a stop to their protests for racially motivated reasons. ESPN also had insider information that stated that Dean and the other four cheer protestors were only allowed to go back onto the football field during the national anthem after UGA pointed out that they had the right to peacefully protest under the U.S. constitution and by interfering with those rights, the school was violating the constitution itself.