Professor Wins Reverse Discrimination LawsuitApril 29, 1999 |
Professor Wins Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit
SAN FRANCISCO — A lecturer denied tenure has been awarded $2.75 million for reverse discrimination after a college dean allegedly said a White man would be hired “over my dead body.”
A Superior Court jury voted 11-1 in favor of Howard E. McNier, who is White, 51 years old, and who had been a full-time lecturer on hospitality and hotel management for five years at San Francisco State University’s College of Business when a tenure-track position opened up in 1995.
McNier, who has a law degree and master’s in business administration, claimed he was advised by the department chairwoman not to apply but did so anyway.
In April 1996, the department hired a Chinese citizen from Hong Kong who had a doctorate — which McNier lacked — but less practical experience, says Robert Jaret, McNier’s attorney.
“There’s evidence there was a mandate in the College of Business to hire recognized minorities over Caucasians,” Jaret says. “Howard was precluded from the list of candidates solely because they wanted to hire a recognized minority.”
A tenured business professor testified that Arthur Wallace, former dean of the College of Business, said he would refuse to consider White males for staff openings. Wallace, who is Black, was dean from 1993 to 1998.
McNier also was awarded $2.2 million in a unanimous verdict for retaliation, but a pretrial agreement limits the total award to the higher of the two. His suit claimed he lost teaching jobs and suffered a cut in salary after filing a discrimination complaint.
University officials maintained the claims had no merit.
“We are shocked, dumbfounded, deeply, deeply disappointed, and we are actively considering all of our options at this point,” says university spokeswoman Ligeia Polidora.
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