August 12, 2014

Diversity hire loses discrimination lawsuit

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

The University of New Hampshire hired a political science professor during a hiring freeze. They were allowed to do so because she was black and the University had ” ongoing efforts to enhance racial diversity on campus.”  It was undisputed that the “the only reason the department was able to hire her was her race.” After students gave her poor evaluation marks four years in a row, and she failed to publish scholarly work, the university decided to take her off the tenure track. The professor sued, alleging that the University discriminated against her on the basis of race.

Yes, you read that correctly.  The professor, who was only hired because of her race, brought a racial discrimination lawsuit after the university fired her over poor performance.  Fortunately, the court rejected the professor’s racial discrimination suit. Perhaps the irony was not missed by the court.  It noted that  “[a]lthough she refers to ‘venom’ hurled by her colleagues, the only venom of which she provides any evidence consists of comments about her deficiencies in teaching, scholarship, and interactions with colleagues in the department.”

You can read the decision here.

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