Judge says discrimination lawsuit can proceed against UI


A federal judge says a discrimination lawsuit filed against the University of Idaho by a UI College of Law professor can move forward.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill rejected a request from the University of Idaho to throw out the lawsuit last week. Professor Shaakirrah Sanders was hired to teach at the College of Law in 2011 and in 2018 became the first African American to achieve the rank of full professor at the school. She filed the lawsuit several years ago, alleging that she was unfairly denied an associate dean position in 2017, that she faced a variety of unfair conditions and terms of employment, and that school officials retaliated against her when she complained about the treatment.

The University of Idaho asked the court to throw out the lawsuit before it went to trial, contending in part that Sanders failed to file the complaint on time and that she failed to show that there was a valid dispute about the facts of the case.

In his ruling first reported by the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, Winmill rejected the university’s argument, noting that UI’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations received at least 35 reports of sexual or racial discrimination at the College of Law during a nine-year period starting in 2011. Those complaints triggered a formal review that included interviews with nearly three dozens staffers and faculty members. (AP)

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