PHOENIX, Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- Dr. Theresa Cameron filed suit today in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix seeking an injunction and other relief against the Arizona Board of Regents; Arizona State University, President Michael Crow; departing Dean of the ASU College of Design, Wellington "Duke" Reiter; Associate Dean Kenneth Brooks; and the former director of the College's School of Planning, Hemalata Dandekar, alleging violations of federal civil rights and employment laws that make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability, gender or race. Dr. Cameron was the first African-American woman to be awarded tenure in the College of Design when she achieved that accomplishment in 2000. After spending her entire childhood in foster care, Dr. Cameron put her self through college and eventually obtained her Ph.D. in Design from Harvard University in 1991. Her childhood experience is chronicled in her book Foster Care Odyssey in America: A Black Girl's Story published in 2002. Dr. Cameron and her book were featured in the Arizona Republic in June 2002. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Cameron requested adjustments in her teaching schedule and course load beginning in March 2005 when she prepared to return from an approved medical leave of absence and has renewed these requests, all of which were denied, at the beginning of each academic semester. The lawsuit also alleges that at or around the same time, she challenged Dean Reiter on issues relating to pay disparity in the College of Design and offered an affidavit in support of a colleague who had filed suit against the Arizona Board of Regents and ASU President Crow in another federal civil rights lawsuit in Phoenix. The lawsuit further alleges that as a result, Crow, Reiter, Brooks and Dandekar worked together to revoke Dr. Cameron's tenure and terminate her employment. Dr. Cameron claims in the lawsuit that she was falsely accused of misconduct in order to terminate her status as a tenured faculty member under Board of Regents policies -- the most serious allegation being plagiarism in the construction and use of six course syllabi she made available to students in some of the courses she taught. Dr. Cameron challenged these allegations under the Board of Regents and ASU policies that provided for a hearing before the ASU Faculty Senate's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure ("CAFT") consisting of five full ASU professors from various disciplines within the university. The complaint in the federal lawsuit alleges that after conducting a full hearing on the matter, CAFT members unanimously found no credible evidence to support two of the three charges and further found that the construction and use of course syllabi was not a clear case of plagiarism and did not justify terminating a tenured faculty member. CAFT unanimously recommended that Dr. Cameron be reinstated to her teaching status and that she undergo a review process where she would be given assistance in the construction and use of course syllabi. Under Board of Regents policies, the university president has the final authority to accept or reject CAFT's recommendation. ASU President Crow did, in fact, reject CAFT's findings and recommendation and terminated Dr. Cameron's status as a tenured professor and ASU employee and faculty member. The lawsuit alleges the action was discriminatory because ASU President Crow permitted a white, male professor accused of misappropriating work of a graduate student and publishing it as part of his own work to remain on faculty and retain his tenured status. The incident was reported in the Arizona Republic on December 15, 2004. Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the Maricopa County Chapter of the NAACP, calls the firing of Dr. Cameron an outrage. "This is one of several incidents involving what we believe to be disparate treatment of minority faculty and students at ASU. The NAACP has been made aware at the national level of the circumstances involving Dr. Cameron. The fact that a white professor remains a tenured faculty member while a black tenured professor is fired over something the ASU Faculty Senate saw as unworthy of termination is deeply troubling." The termination has left Dr. Cameron without income or much needed health benefits. The lawsuit seeks to overturn ASU President Crow's decision to fire Dr. Cameron, reinstatement to her tenured faculty post and unspecified money damages. It also asks the federal court to issue an injunction requiring the Board of Regents to continue Dr. Cameron's salary and benefits during the pendency of the lawsuit. No date has been set for a hearing on the injunction request. Dr. Cameron is represented in the lawsuit by the Phoenix labor and employment law firm of Martin & Bonnett, PLLC.
Major Newsire & Press Release Distribution with Basic Starting at only $19 and Complete OTCBB / Financial Distribution only $89