Federal Agency Says Historically Black College Discriminated Against Three White Faculty Members Based on Race
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Benedict College discriminated against three white faculty members because of their race in 2005, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. The lawsuit was filed along with a consent decree resolving the case. Benedict College is a private historically black college located in Columbia, S.C. According to its web site, Benedict College has over 2,500 undergraduate students.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, Benedict College discriminated against Argiri Aggelopoulou, an art instructor, by failing to select her for an assistant professor of art position in February 2005. The EEOC’s complaint further alleges that the college discriminated against Aggelopoulou, Michael Hale, an assistant professor of art, and a third faculty member from Benedict’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, by failing to renew their teaching contracts for the 2005-2006 school year, effectively terminating them.
Race discrimination violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The EEOC’s suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division (EEOC v. Benedict College, Civil Action No. 3:09-cv-00905-JFA-JRM), along with a consent decree setting forth the terms of the settlement agreement between the EEOC and Benedict College. As part of the settlement, Benedict College agreed to pay each of the three affected faculty members $55,000 and to redistribute its equal employment opportunity policy prohibiting discrimination based on race and other protected categories. Benedict College will also provide training to its administrators, faculty, and employees and make periodic reports to the EEOC pursuant to the settlement.
“Benedict College denies the allegations in the lawsuit and therefore the EEOC appreciates the College’s willingness to work with us in order to resolve this case to the benefit of all involved,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the Charlotte District Office. “Benedict College has a policy which provides for equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) originally investigated the faculty members’ charges. SCHAC works with the EEOC in investigating charges of employment discrimination. These charges raise claims under South Carolina law as well as federal laws enforced by the EEOC. Further information about SCHAC is available on its web site at www.state.sc.us/schac.
This page was last modified on April 9, 2009.
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