Did Lehigh University Ignore Sexual Harassment Claims to Help Maintain a Racially Diverse Faculty?

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is facing a lawsuit after a faculty member claims the university retained James Braxton Peterson, a prominent Black professor, despite evidence that he had sexually harassed women colleagues. The lawsuit claims that the university wanted to maintain its image as a diverse institution and did not pay adequate attention to sexual harassment claims against the professor.

The lawsuit was filed by Monica Miller, an associate professor of Africana studies at Lehigh University. After the evidence against Peterson became too much to ignore, Lehigh suspended him and placed Miller in his position as head of the Africana studies program, a role Miller claims she was too inexperienced to hold. According to her, she was only placed in that figure-head position because she was Black. Miller claims that when the university put her into this position when she was not ready, it subjected her to “a hostile environment of intimidation and harassment,” her lawsuit reads.

Miller also alleges that she was sexually harassed by Peterson while she was interviewing for her job. According to her, Peterson made inappropriate comments to her and called her late at night about the position. In 2013, Peterson took Miller to a restaurant alone where he asked her to sit on his lap and kiss him, and rubbed her leg under the table, according to the lawsuit. Miller alleges that after she was hired, he continued to harass her, but as a pre-tenure scholar, she felt too vulnerable to make a formal complaint against him.

 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to contact@JBHE.com.

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs