Urbanative / Wikipedia

DOJ sues Oklahoma university for discrimination against trans professor

DOJ alleges Southeastern Oklahoma State University refused to allow a transgender professor to re-apply for tenure

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Southeastern Oklahoma State University, alleging the school in Durant discriminated against a transgender professor and then fired her after she complained.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Oklahoma City, the department alleges the university denied assistant professor Rachel Tudor a promotion in 2009 despite a recommendation from her department chair and other tenured faculty from her department.

In 2010, Tudor filed complaints about about the denial of her application for tenure and the university refused to let her re-apply, despite a policy that normally allowed professors to do so, according to the DOJ. Tudor was fired in 2011 because she had not obtained tenure.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement the lawsuit is intended to target "unfair biases and unjust prejudices" against transgender Americans.

Southeastern's president, Sean Burrage, said in a statement the university followed the law and is "confident in its legal position" and Southeastern Oklahoma State University said in a statement "is committed to diversity and equal employment opportunities.

Burrage declined to discuss the matter further, citing the pending lawsuit.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office will represent the university.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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