Judge Allows Discrimination Lawsuit to Proceed Against University of Idaho

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, The Lewiston Tribune reported.

Professor Shaakirrah Sanders was hired to teach at the College of Law in 2011 and 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, that she faced a variety of unfair conditions and that school officials retaliated against her when she complained.

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.

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 9-year period starting in 2011. Those complaints triggered a formal review.

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