Former dean says Mizzou fired her for questioning racial quotas

A former dean is suing the University of Missouri School of Medicine for wrongful termination, alleging that she was fired because of her race and skepticism of certain diversity initiatives.

Dr. Rachel Brown, former associate dean of recruitment, admission, and student life at MU’s medical school, filed a lawsuit against her former employer on December 18 in which she claims that race was a “contributing factor” in her termination.

[RELATED: Mizzou enrollment falls to lowest level since 2008]

After Mizzou’s infamous 2015 protests, followed by a 2016 accreditation review that “found deficiencies” in the School of Medicine’s diversity practices, Brown recommended that it seek “external consultation about the issues of diversity and inclusion.”

According her lawsuit, she argued at the time that “the diversity initiatives at the School of Medicine were fragmented and misaligned,” suggesting that “the single-minded pursuit of racial and ethnic minority applicants” posed both legal risks and moral problems.

Then, in spring 2016, Brown “became increasingly concerned that she was being excluded from important conversations regarding diversity and admissions,” observing that Dean of the School of Medicine Dr. Patrice “Patrick” Delafontaine, a South African, was increasingly ignoring her communications regarding the responsibilities of her office.

For instance, Brown asserts that Delafontaine invited Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Warren Lockette and Dr. Laine M. Young-Walker, two African-American faculty members, to meetings relating to diversity and admissions, which was then under her jurisdiction, but neglected even to notify Brown, much less invite her to participate.

[RELATED: Support group ponders ‘surviving’ at ‘predominantly white’ Mizzou]

Lockette, the lawsuit claims, called for an “aggressive increase in the numbers of out-of-state students” in order to make the School of Medicine’s demographics resemble those of the United States instead of those of Missouri.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Lockette derisively referred to students who reside in Missouri as “bumpkins, hicks, and illiterates who lived in Hootersville,” adding that he had made similar comments about medical school students in the past.

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