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Rose Brown, a former graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, filed a federal lawsuit against the school on Tuesday for claims of racial discrimination and retaliation. Brown, who is a Black woman, says she was forced to leave her graduate program after she filed a complaint with the university’s compliance office about patterns of discriminatory and hostile treatment.

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Brown enrolled in a Ph D. Program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2020. According to her attorney Artur Davis, she was doing well in the program and was being praised for her work, until she filed her discrimination complaint.

“This is not someone who failed and who’s trying to blame race,” Davis told ABC 11. “This is someone who succeeded and was still kicked out. And that raises all kinds of question marks.”

According to the lawsuit, Rose Brown was “subjected to a double standard motivated by a combination of her race and gender and when she dared to complain, defendants aggressively wrecked her professional standing.”

The suit also states that Brown was “abruptly” told she had “no future at Kenan” and “would be terminated from the Ph.D. Program consigned to a Master’s Degree instead of a doctorate.”

Brown stated in the suit that she “wants to recover damages under federal and North Carolina law for the mental anguish, severe emotional distress, financial loss, and pain and suffering she has endured.”

“The next president of the United States may be a Black woman,” Davis, her lawyer told ABC 11. “North Carolina’s next senator may be an African American female. How is it that we still live in a world where a dynamic Black woman has not given a fair shake at one of the state’s top institutions?”

Davis also told WRAL that Rose Brown is now enrolled in a doctorate program at Cornell.

“It’s very important to note, this is not someone who was failing or struggling and looking for an excuse, said Davis in an interview with WRAL. “This is someone who was thriving and succeeding and still asked to leave. That’s wrong, that’s highly suspicious and that’s the basis for this lawsuit.” 

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