UPDATE from MU Curator: “Obviously with litigation now ongoing, we will have to dig even harder to get to the truth. However, the first indication I have received is that things aren’t what the lawsuit made them appear.”
Among the charges former MU School of Medicine associate dean Rachel Brown has leveled in her lawsuit against the UM Board of Curators is that a colleague called MU students from Missouri “bumpkins, hicks and illiterates who lived in Hootersville.”
The colleague in question is Warren Lockette, the university’s senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion. If Browns’s charge is true, Lockette would seem to working under a somewhat paradoxical definition of “inclusivity.”
The accusation is part of Brown’s larger suit claiming age and race discrimination. Brown, who is 60 and white, was replaced in her job by a 40-something African-American woman, Laine Young-Walker. Brown claims that the dean of the School of Medicine, Patrice Delafontaine, replaced her to “make a change in leadership” but was assured her performance was not an issue. For the record, Delafontaine is a white male.
At the time Brown “stepped down” in November 2016 after ten years on the job, MU Health spokeswoman Mary Jenkins praised Brown’s “important and enduring contributions” including her work in doubling the size of the applicant pool and increasing the number of minority applicants.
As the Columbia Missourian reporter Kasey Carlson points out, the medical school has faced criticism due to a perceived lack of diversity and was deemed “non-compliant” in its last accreditation review. By suggesting a motive Carlson helps make Brown’s case. She notes that “the school may face probation or may lose its accreditation if sufficient progress isn’t made.”
According to the lawsuit, Brown also claims she was removed for opposing certain diversity initiatives at the med school, reportedly because “of her concern about their legality.”
This is where Dean Lockette enters the scene. It was in his aggressive push for more out-of-state students that he is alleged to have insulted Brown and smeared the students hailing from “Hootersville.”
Brown is asking for either her job back or her salary as well as “back salary, attorney’s fees and punitive damages for emotional distress consisting of outrage, shock and humiliation.” At the time, Brown was making $213,000 a year. Lockette was making $300,000.
Win or lose, Brown has shed much needed light on the murky doublethink that sustains the “diversity” agenda. Expect MU to settle, and expect the citizens of Hootersville to be left in the dark about just how much they got dinged to make the case go away.