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American University’s student-led newspaper, The Eagle, reports that Carolyn Brown, an assistant professor in AU’s School of Communication, is appealing Provost Scott Bass’s decision to deny her tenure. In her appeal, Professor Brown asserts that she was unfairly denied tenure in retaliation for her activism on race and gender issues on AU’s campus, and for encouraging students in her broadcast journalism course to report on these issues.
Professor Brown also alleges that Provost Bass’s denial of her tenure breached her contract with the University because he conducted a “flawed and biased” statistical analysis of her student evaluations, in violation of AU’s Faculty Manual. She further alleges that Provost Bass refused to read letters of support written on her behalf, and ignored empirical evidence demonstrating inherent race and gender bias in student evaluations. Professor Brown is currently the only Latina professor in AU’s School of Communication.
This comes after two AU professors, Maria Ivancin and Loubna Skalli Hanna, also Bernabei & Kabat clients, filed suit against AU after being denied tenure in 2013 and 2015, respectively. They claim that the University breached their contracts, and that Provost Bass’s actions were discriminatory on the basis of age.
To read more about Carolyn Brown in The Eagle, click here.
To read more about Maria Ivancin and Loubna Skalli Hanna’s cases, click here.
Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law and seven other non-profit legal groups, in the appeal challenging the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that banned immigration from a number of countries. Their amicus brief argued that the Executive Order improperly promoted social categorization and stereotyping, thereby endangering the lives and well-beings of individuals because of their religion, and that the Equal Protection Clause prohibits actions that are motivated by animus.
On May 25, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its en banc decision upholding the injunction against the Executive Order, agreeing with the plaintiffs that the Executive Order improperly discriminated on the basis of religion. The majority opinion concluded that the Executive Order “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law has also discussed the significance of this decision.