Former Faculty Member at Harris-Stowe State University Wins Discrimination Lawsuit

harris-stoweA former instructor at Harris-Stowe State University, a historically Black educational institution in St. Louis, was awarded $4,850,000 from a jury in a circuit court racial discrimination case. The White woman had claimed that she was passed over the promotion and subsequently dismissed from her job in the university’s College of Education.

Beverly Wilkins was hired as an instructor in 2001. She was dismissed in 2010 after never having been promoted. The lawsuit claims that a Black woman was hired in 2007 and quickly promoted to assistant dean and later dean. The Black woman dismissed Wilkins in 2010 citing state budget cuts. The lawsuit claims that White members of the faculty were purged as a result of the downsizing due to the budget cuts, while Black faculty members with less seniority were retained.

The university stated that it is considering an appeal. And it noted that the events surrounding the case happened in 2010 and since then a new administration has been installed.

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  1. I am not surprised by her win at an HBCU, and I think it is appropriate for the university to appeal it. Racial discrimination of this type, and worse, frequently happens at White institutions against Black faculty. I am presently in the Federal Sixth Circuit Court and also in the State’s Circuit Court with four EEOC civil right claims (race, age, disability, and retaliation) against a predominantly white institution (PWI) located 30 miles north of Michigan. Black faculty suing PWIs are not as successful as White faculty suing HBCUs. There is racism even in the judicial system. So, this is no surprise to me.

  2. Why do we have “historically white” or “historically black” colleges? Isn’t this 2016? Aren’t we past the segregation days? We cannot cry exclusion or segregation when we create it ourselves.

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