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State senators want answers about UMD hockey coach's dismissal

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A group of state senators has stepped into the fray over the dismissal of University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey coach Shannon Miller.

In a letter addressed to UMD Chancellor Lendley Black and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, the 13 DFL senators request "further information" as to why Miller's contract was not renewed.

The dismissal ignited controversy – Miller hired lawyers and is reportedly considering legal action, and Campus Pride, a student advocacy group, revoked the university's status as an "LGBT-friendly" school.

UMD officials indicated the move was a cost-cutting measure, but according to the senators' letter – released Monday and posted by the Duluth News Tribune – university officials said there were "other factors" involved, but never specified what those were.

"We believe that there is more involved in this decision and we implore the University to share this information," the senators wrote.

The letter further challenges the university's reasoning for the dismissal, pointing out that the UMD men's hockey coach – whose salary is higher than Miller's, despite having a "lower winning percentage" – was not let go.

The senators also warn the school that "discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding" is a violation of Title IX, and would have "severe consequences" for the state's higher education system.

According to the Pioneer Press, the university says University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and UMD Chancellor Lendley Black received the letter and will respond to it "as soon as possible."

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