The Legal Beat
Law Professor Goes All In On Lawsuit Alleging Reverse Discrimination Against Men
Posted on Thursday February 08, 2024
In the 2020-21 academic year, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law did not renew the seven-year contract of professor David Schott. As a result, Schott became an at-will employee at the law school. He filed a lawsuit alleging he no longer has “the procedural protections to which he would be entitled as a member of DU’s long-term contract faculty,” because he is a man.
The complaint alleges Viva Moffat, the associate dean of academic affairs, told Schott she didn’t want white men teaching at the advocacy program he headed anymore, saying she wanted to “see friendly faces, faces of minority women, preferably African-American women.”
As reported by the ABA Journal:
Shortly after Moffat’s comments, she informed Schott that there had been reports of gender discrimination in the Center for Advocacy at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Those reports were “utterly unfounded” according to the new suit.
One unfounded allegation involved a female professor from another law school who told four female students that they sounded “b- – – -y” during a summer program in Scotland, the suit says. The other involved an allegation that a female student was asked whether she could make the required time commitment when she tried out for for the law school’s national trial team. Everyone was asked this question, the suit says.
Schott requested a formal hearing on the allegations, but it was denied. He was later presented with a “statement of expectations” with five action items that he must carry out because of the gender discrimination allegations.
Except the case he filed this month in Colorado state court alleging breach of contract, defamation, gross negligence, violations of Colorado wage law and sex-based wage discrimination under the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is actually the second Schott has brought based on these facts.
District of Colorado Judge Christine M. Arguello dismissed Schott’s discrimination case filed in federal court on January 4th. Judge Arguello ruled, as for the federal causes of action, there was no “materially adverse” action to Schott’s employment. He “has not sought medical treatment, has not been fired, his pay has not been reduced, and he has received merit raises from the university in the years following the 2016 allegations and his contract nonrenewal.”
Schott’s lawyers say they will appeal Arguello’s decision.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].