Former TSU Law School Dean Sues for Loss of Term

Joan RM Bullock also accused the university of breaching her contract and retaliating for submitting to the president and provost ‘matters of public interest’ – including those she says could potentially affect the school’s ability to remain accredited.

“It affects me in a dramatic way,” Bullock said. “I believe in (Texas Southern’s) mission and its goals, and now it puts me in an awkward position to look for another job. I think it’s very unfair what they did.

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University spokeswoman Tracy Clemons declined to comment, adding that the institution does not speak publicly about personnel or litigation matters.

Faculty tenure is a highly protected status that provides educators with job security and guarantees the freedom to teach and conduct research as they see fit.

The status comes with a process of periodic evaluation and can only be revoked if the university has a “good cause”, defined as “gross professional or personal misconduct”. A faculty member can be immediately fired if they have been convicted of an offense that falls under the definition of just cause, or if the faculty member admits to the allegations in writing, according to the latest report from Texas Southern. . faculty handbook.

Bullock arrived in 2019 at the historically black University as the first dean of the law school. At the time, the Thurgood Marshall School of Law was struggling to restore its academic status and reputation following public censure for reports of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as compliance issues related to weak bar scores.

While pass rates remained the same or improved only slightly in subsequent years, the law school returned to compliance with its accrediting body, the American Bar Association. (Neither of the two classes she admitted passed the bar exam, she said.) from the university president.

During her tenure, Bullock said she was “repeatedly prevented” from advertising and hiring staff as stipulated in the law school budget, according to the lawsuit.

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In June, the university removed her as dean and professor, telling her only that they were going in a “different direction,” Bullock said. She refused to sign a written dismissal agreement because of her status as a tenured professor, leading acting provost Lillian B. Poats to say the university believed there was cause, Bullock’s attorneys wrote. in the trial.

For one, Bullock co-taught an experimental asynchronous online course, Poats said, according to the former dean. Second, she allegedly named a woman whom Bullock allegedly hired to investigate the admissions process — and whom she then named the new Associate Dean for Admissions.

Bullock said she requested a hearing twice, seeking an opportunity to challenge her dismissal. Texas Southern officials have not responded, violating the Due Process Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment, she claims.

Her attorneys added that they believe the timing of her shooting was related to First Amendment reprisals since she had just raised issues related to accreditation.

“She was brought in to fix the corruption at the university, which we believe she was doing and put proper protocols in place,” Todd Slobin said. “(Pulling her) may uncover other stones.”

Represented by Slobin and attorney Dorian Vandenberg-Rodes, Bullock sued the university’s board of trustees and its members; potash; Yolanda N. Edmond, Associate Senior Vice President of Human Resources, and President Lesia L. Crumpton-Young.

Bullock is seeking reinstatement as a professor.

Jon J. Epps