Students from Pennsylvania State University held a protest yesterday demanding the dismissal of a basketball coach who they allege is homophobic.

The group of students representing gay and black students together with an HIV education group and delegates from the students’ union protested outside the office of university president Graham Spainer.

The students demanded a change in the way that the institution deals with issues relating to gay people and other minority groups.

The university has just concluded a six month investigation of women’s basketball coach Rene Portland and the way allegedly discriminated against pupils she perceived to be lesbians. The university fined her $10,000 of wages and ordered her to take diversity awareness training.

During the hearing, Ms Portland said: “I want to state that it has always been my belief that all actions taken with respect to the player bringing claims against me were basketball-related and basketball-related only and were not based on sexual orientation, actual or perceived.”

Students voiced concerns in a letter to Mr Spainer arguing that Ms Portland has not apologised and does not appear repentant.

Representatives claimed that the problems within the university extend beyond the women’s team and point to the concerns of a black students group who complained when members of the university Republican party allegedly posted a photograph of a white man ‘blacked up’ on an internet site.