EMPORIA, Kan. — A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit alleging that Emporia State University discriminated against a black assistant professor after he and his wife complained about a racial incident.
The professor, Melvin Hale, cited unspecified health concerns and the considerable cost and time required by the litigation in asking for the dismissal, the judge wrote in his order last week. Hale, who represented himself in the lawsuit, said he is writing a book about his experiences at the university.
Hale filed the lawsuit in October 2015 against the university and seven administrators. It was dismissed last week without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled. The university had asked that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice or with conditions, but U.S. District Judge Sam Crow in Topeka denied those motions.
Hale claimed the school and some top administrators discriminated against him and his wife, Angelica, after they said in April 2015 that they found a note with a racial slur near her office in the School of Library and Information Management. The Hales said school administrators at first did nothing, then conducted a biased investigation and retaliated against them for pushing the issue. Melvin Hale was eventually banned from campus. Shortly after the couple complained, Angelica Hale’s job as assistant to the dean of the library information department was not renewed.
The university said its investigation found no evidence of a hate crime or racial discrimination. University officials were not available Thursday to comment.
A second former assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Management filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against four Emporia State University officials and the school about a month after Hale’s lawsuit was filed. Rajesh Singh, who is Asian, alleged he faced discrimination and retaliation while working at the school from 2009 until he was fired in January 2015. Depositions and motions are currently being filed in that lawsuit.