Professor: NCCU retaliated because he didn’t show racial preference

NCCU's James Pearce
NCCU's James Pearce

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Another current North Carolina Central University employee has filed a complaint against the university for discrimination.

The complaint was filed last week with the EEOC by Professor James Pearce. Pearce alleges while at NCCU, “I have witnessed racial bias in hiring practices, curricular decisions, and program staffing.”

The complaint also alleges that NCCU “routinely retaliates against faculty who refuse to comply with instructions which are unethical or illegal.”

At the news conference, Pearce, who is black, said he refused to make race a factor in his hiring decisions, and that led to the retaliation.

Two former School of Business employees, Frank Smith and Marianne Murphy, also sued the university and the UNC Board of Governors in federal court, claiming discrimination and retaliation. A third person, also a current employee at NCCU, filed a complaint earlier this month.

The Noble Law Firm, the employment law firm that represents the plaintiffs in the cases against the UNC Board of Governors, NCCU and Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, discussed the lawsuit Monday afternoon.

Full James Pearce complaint

Previously, NCCU has denied all the allegations and vowed to fight them in court. In a statement late Monday afternoon, the school said it “strives to foster diversity and inclusion within our faculty, staff and student communities.”

The statement said, “The University will review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim filing in question once it is received to ensure the integrity of that matter is not compromised. All
other pending claims have a clearly established legal process and should not be decided in the court of public opinion.

“We are concerned about the tactics being used by the Noble Law Firm and the public relations agency working on their behalf to litigate these matters in the press.”

Also late Monday, the UNC Board of Governors said in a statement about the matters raised with NCCU:

“We are surprised and disappointed that Mr. [Nicholas] Sanservino and Ms. [Laura] Noble and the public relations firm they have hired are improperly attempting to try their clients’ claims in the media. They have made a variety of inaccurate claims regarding the Board of Governors’ role in these disputes. Such employment matters are handled in accordance with university policies and procedures, and Mr. Sanservino and Ms. Noble have been given every opportunity to pursue their clients’ claims through those procedures.

“NCCU and the UNC Board of Governors will vigorously respond to and defend against the claims made by these individuals in the appropriate forum: the courts or administrative tribunals in which they are pending, and not in the media. We look forward to carefully examining what proof, if any, there is to support each claim in the manner required by our court system.”

Related link

Full complaint by James Pearce of NCCU

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