A federal appellate court on Friday reintroduced a racial discrimination indictment filed by a fired college employee, questioning why a lower court dismissed it without addressing the issue in its ruling.
Emily Lewis began working as head of instructional design at Indiana Wesleyan University, a private Christian university in Marion, Indiana, in 2017, according to Friday’s ruling from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago in Emily Lewis vs. Indiana Wesleyan University.
In July 2018, Lewis met with two university officials to discuss her concerns that her subordinates, who were all white, did not take guidance from her because of her race.
One of the officials told her that she should get “Black woman̵7;s syndrome off (her) shoulders” and that she was “too smart”, the verdict said. She reported this call to the official who did not make the remark and the university chancellor.
In February 2019, she was told by another university official, who according to the information was not aware of her complaint about discrimination, that her position was being eliminated as part of combining her department with another. She declined the offer of a research assistant position and stopped working at the university.
Lewis sued the university in the U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on charges of retaliation and discrimination. The lower court granted the university’s summary judgment on her retaliation allegations but did not address her claim of racial discrimination.
The three-judge panel of the appellate court reinstated the discrimination claim, saying the district court “failed to explain why it granted a summary judgment on Dr. Lewis’ claim that her dismissal was racially discriminatory.”
“As a result, we can not be sure that the district court satisfactorily considered the grounds of that claim,” the ruling said, confirming that the retaliation was rejected, but refusing to evaluate her allegation of racial discrimination and remanding the case for further proceedings. .
Lawyers in the case did not respond to requests for comment.