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University of Idaho professor files discrimination lawsuit

University of Idaho

A University of Idaho law professor says she was discriminated against based on her gender and race and faced retaliation after reporting concerns.

Shaakirrah Sanders filed the lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the university, its law school and a former dean, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Sanders, who is the only black tenured professor at the law school, says Mark Adams started a “pattern of disparate terms and conditions” of her employment after he became the law school dean in 2014.

Adams did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment. He stepped down as dean last year.

The lawsuit outlines alleged discrepancies between the treatment of Sanders and other professors.

In one example, a white professor with less seniority was offered a class that Sanders had sought and was in her area of academic research. The other professor had not taught the class before and did not want to teach it, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the university also reassigned another class Sanders had been teaching to a white visiting professor, “who had not taught the subject and who was allowed to teach it remotely.” Sanders was told she was not allowed to teach remotely, the lawsuit says.

When the school created two associate dean positions in 2017, Sanders was not considered for the role even though she met the requirements, the lawsuit claims. The positions went to two white men, including one who did not meet the requirements.

Sanders says she faced more retaliation after confronting Adams about the hires.

The University of Idaho declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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