Black Former Professor Files Pay Bias Complaint Against Campbell University - Higher Education
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Black Former Professor Files Pay Bias Complaint Against Campbell University

by Walter Hudson

A Black former law professor whose discrimination battle against Campbell University boiled over into Christian radio and social media on July 7, has filed a new federal complaint against the Raleigh, N.C. law school.

Amos Jones

In the July 11, 2017, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging document obtained by Diverse, former Associate Professor of Law Amos Jones alleges a pattern of paying White assistant professors more than Black associate professors are paid.

“While I was on unpaid leave with no paid benefits in Fall 2015, the Dean required me to continue working on admissions committee tasks, and I was not paid,” Jones wrote. “Meanwhile, my Sept. 2015 tenure application was tabled. Whites are paid for the services they render and … are given promotions to Associate [Professor] without having to file applications, even though I had had to present a 400-page file and wait 13 months for the board to act on my application for the promotion.”

Officials at Campbell University, including the dean of the law school, J. Rich Leonard, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Jones’ dispute with the school dates to January 9, 2017, when, he alleges, his fall 2016 application for tenure was obstructed by a pair of deans and the school subsequently stopped processing his application because he had filed federal civil-rights charges. On February 21, the dean issued a notice denying him a seventh year on faculty, citing the EEOC complaint, Jones said. Jones filed a retaliation claim shortly thereafter over the abrupt conclusion of his service, citing two public e-mail messages disseminated to the Campbell University community by Leonard and University President Bradley Creed critical of Jones’ having filed complaints — actions Jones said intentionally marginalized him while instilling fear in co-employee witnesses and future civil-rights complainants.

Jones, who taught contracts, ethics, and a legal-history elective at Campbell for more than six years, currently practices law in Washington, D.C., full-time, where he was named a 2017 Super Lawyer in the field of employment discrimination, rating in the top 2.7 percent of lawyers under 40.

Campbell responded to his videotaped radio appearance, in which he directly addressed friends and colleagues including many former students, by posting a statement to Twitter and Facebook attacking Jones.

It stated: “What the record indisputably shows is that in Professor Jones’ sixth year at the law school when he was required to apply for tenure, he declined to do so. The law school followed all of its procedures precisely, appointing a tenure panel to evaluate Professor Jones and informing him of the deadline to file his materials. On multiple occasions, he acknowledged these requirements. Nonetheless, he submitted nothing, instead creating a completely false controversy that his illusory application had been denied.”

But Jones said that statement is false and defamatory against him.

“The Dean and lawyers are fully aware that I applied for tenure twice, and their own internal documents now before federal authorities since January show that my applications were being processed before they were aborted prematurely against my interests and in violation of university policy,” he said. “My March 28 contractual-issues appeal filed with the responsible dean and the provost supplied a six-page narrative, 17 exhibits, and approximately 100 pages showing professors’ and deans’ own admissions that they accepted and then botched my applications, while advancing once-underqualified Whites.”

Jones said he immediately reported this Tweet as “retaliatory defamation” to the EEOC’s Raleigh office, and that the school’s publication has led to a barrage of vicious attacks against him and his supporters.

In his July 7 radio appearance on KTAV-San Diego’s “Get on Up” program hosted by civil-rights activist Rev. Shane Harris, Jones opened a March 30 letter from Leonard while filming on Facebook live. Jones read portions he said constituted “smoking-gun” violations of the federal anti-retaliation statute protecting employment-discrimination complainants. He then laid down an ultimatum calling on Campbell Law School to desegregate its tenured faculty within 18 months or risk further public pressure.

“Campbell’s own statements, including the erratic and manifestly defamatory statement the law school Tweeted on Friday July 7, provide compelling evidence that they will say and do anything to repel Black men from their full-time teaching faculty,” Jones told Diverse. “Just look at their new tenure-track hires, tenured hires, and tenure elevations over the past four years: 100 percent White, all of them – even after Campbell was challenged by the American Bar Association over the dearth of Black faculty as part of our accreditor’s fall 2015 site visit.”

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