A gender discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Morehouse College after a former professor of the school said she faced termination without just cause.
According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vicki Cox Edmondson said she was fired from the all-male Atlanta school in July 2018 for academic misconduct. She says she was let go after three students and a few administrators claimed she was too harsh of a grader. Her lawsuit says the people involved are members of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., the country’s first Black ‘Intercollegiate’ Greek-lettered fraternity. Edmondson argues that officials bow to the pressure of students and administrators in the fraternity.
“Morehouse’s leadership concedes to the demands and complaints of male students, male alumni, male faculty, male upper level administrators, and members of the all-male Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity,” the complaint reads.
The college didn’t make a comment about the lawsuit, saying it doesn’t talk about pending litigation. The lawsuit was filed in federal court last week.
It further complained that Morehouse “has a strongly disparate number of male (versus female) faculty members and upper administrative leaders.” Morehouse’s 158 faculty members were 38% women during the 2018-2019 school year, according to a document on the school’s website. A gender breakdown of administrators wasn’t listed.
Edmondson was hired by the college in 2010 and she became a tenured professor in 2013. In 2015 she was appointed as the Associate Provost for Student Success.
According to her lawsuit, Edmondson says her troubles began in November 2016 when she complained to administrators that a colleague didn’t have the appropriate credentials to teach business. When August 2017 came around, Edmondson said she was copied on an email directing faculty to prevent her from discussing the colleague’s credentials.
That same semester, she said two students in her class brought up concerns about their grades. In March 2018, Morehouse began investigating her grading process. This was two months after Edmondson said Alpha Phi Alpha, which the students were apart of, pledged $2.5 million in scholarships to the college. When July came around, Edmondson was fired and replaced with a male professor who was less qualified, the lawsuit says.
Edmondson currently teaches at Tuskegee University. With her lawsuit, she’s seeking money for attorney fees, increased travel costs for her commute from her Fulton County home to Tuskegee, and other expenses.
CORRECTION: 11:45 a.m. ET, May 14 — An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. as the country’s oldest Black fraternity. This article has been updated to reflect this correction.