The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is being sued by a former Black graduate student for racial discrimination and retaliation, according to NBC News. Not long ago, the school settled with author and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones after being accused of racial discrimination in her hiring process.
Now, the university’s business school is facing heat for similar, yet more disturbing allegations.
Rose Brown, 28, filed a suit in the US District Court for North Carolina’s Middle District alleging Kenan-Flagler Business School faculty members subjected her to cruel judgement. Brown claims her competence was belittled, she was scolded after being sexually assaulted and criticized for requesting extensions due to court hearings regarding the case. To compare, she alleged her white counterparts received scheduling accommodations regardless of the reason, including “writer’s block.”
“It was tortured in a lot of ways. I was ostracized from a faculty standpoint. I was continuously berated with various comments. It was humiliating. It was disheartening. It broke me down every day. I had panic attacks every time I went to school,” Brown told NBC.
More about Brown’s case from NBC News:
Brown said she was initially taken aback when faculty members failed to include a photo of her, the only Black woman in the Ph.D. program at the time, in the program’s portfolio of candidates, according to the lawsuit. She alleges in the suit that they singled her out in an email about advice for graduate students before the program began, saying such guidance could be helpful “especially for Rose.” But, she said, the alleged “racism and sexism” became clear after she requested extensions to attend court hearings for her domestic violence protective orders, which were made after she alleged she was sexually assaulted twice by a male acquaintance, according to both Brown and the lawsuit.
Along with the university and its board of governors, the suit names professors Shimul Melwani, Sreedhari Desai and Michael Christian. Christian and Desai were Brown’s principal advisers, and Melwani, a coordinator of the Ph.D. program, was responsible for her annual student review, according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges that Brown informed Melwani and Christian of the court hearings and the assaults. “They knew why I was going to court. They knew everything. And that was held against me,” Brown said.
Brown’s attorney Artur Davis said the school’s Equal Opportunity Compliance Office found no evidence of wrongdoing after Brown reported the discrimination after being let go from the Ph.D program.
“They told her at the end of her first year in the program: ‘Your grades are great. Your research is great. It’s not about that. We don’t think you fit in here,’” Davis told NBC.
Well, doesn’t that sound like the lame response they gave Nikole Hannah-Jones? As the conservative created a national uproar about The 1619 Project, UNCCH delayed voting on her tenure because she did not come from a “traditional academic-type background,” according to North Carolina Public Radio. In other words, she didn’t “fit.”
Both Brown and Hannah-Jones were qualified on paper, but once they raised their voice about racism their qualifications seemed to become irrelevant. While Black women are denied opportunity for speaking the truth, those employers only expose themselves for how they really think about us.