Unless you have spent the past six months of 2014 in n the Australian Outback, you probably know racism and sexism remain hotly debated topics…especially on American campuses.
In recent years, legal suits have risen from tenure-seeking professors at DePaul University and Chapman University. Three women on faculty at DePaul University accused the school of denying them tenure based on sexism. At Chapman University, a woman claimed racism was responsible for being denied tenure.
The most recent case comes from the University of the District of Columbia Law School (UDC), a historically black college. Former professor Kemit Mawakana is filing a suit to sue the university for denying him tenure and firing him based on discrimination. The crazy thing is Mawakana is black and is suing a historically black college for racism. During a meeting with Shelley Broderick, the dean of UDC, Mawakana was told his application for tenure would be denied. Months later, Mawakana was fired.
Mawakana is not alone. Former UDC professor, Stephanie Brown was also denied tenure while an allegedly less qualified white professor was granted tenure. Both professors claim to feel particularly distraught because of all places to be subjected to racism, they didn’t think it would be at an institution dedicated to black achievement and education.
What’s more, since 2011, five professors have applied for tenure at UDC, three were black and two were white. All three of the black professors were denied while both of the white professors gained tenure. Broderick countered, noting six of the nine faculty members hired since 2009 were people of color. Nevertheless, the suits involving Brown and Mawakana are ongoing. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Brown could continue her separate case against the school. Brown says the only answer to the question of why her and Mawakana is “pure and simple racism.”
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