The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today it had filed a lawsuit against Orange-based Chapman University, alleging the school denied tenure to and fired a business professor because she's black.
Dellande's staff photo from the University of New Orleans.
According to the complaint, Dr. Stephanie Dellande, hired by Chapman's Argyros School of Business in 2001, has a Ph.D. in marketing from UC Irvine and an MBA from UC Riverside. In 2006, she applied for tenure and a promotion from assistant professor to associate professor. Along the way in her time at Chapman, she'd received positive comments and recommendations by peers, students and superiors. But she was denied tenure and, two years later, discharged.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, alleges she didn't advance because of her race. While the suit references no racially motivated comments from Chapman faculty, it notes that when she applied for tenure, Dellande was the only black person in a department of roughly 30 people. She applied again in 2008 and, despite the recommendations of all four external reviewers looking at her application, was denied. Meanwhile, the EEOC alleges, non-black professors who were less qualified than Dellande were promoted.
The suit seeks back pay, punitive damages, and an injunction to prevent racial discrimination at Chapman. The EEOC is the agency responsible for enforcing federal discrimination laws. According to an EEOC press release, the commission tried to arrange a settlement with Chapman before filing the lawsuit.
As of 3:49 p.m., a university spokesman said that Chapman hadn't yet been served with the suit and therefore can't yet comment on it. The lawsuit complaint, however, is below.