Lawsuit: Oklahoma State U. Prof Faced Discrimination After Serving in Trump Administration

donald-trump Carolyn KasterAP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

A professor at Oklahoma State University alleges that she faced political discrimination by school officials after she accepted an appointment to the Trump Administration, according to a lawsuit.

Professor Whitney Blair of Oklahoma State University is suing over the alleged political discrimination that she faced at the university when she returned to campus after serving on the president’s administration as a senior executive in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to a report by News 9.

An Oklahoma State review committee found that school officials had “distressed, confused and humiliated” Bailey, as well as demonstrated a “systematic failure to follow university policy,” which the professor alleges also resulted in her losing out on paid projects and a promotion at the university’s College of Human Sciences.

“Despite positive feedback and accolades for her work, she says she was denied because of her position in HHS and her Republican Party membership,” reports News 9. “That denial she argues is a violation of her First Amendment rights.”

The report added that Bailey also alleges that Oklahoma State Provost Gary Sandefur, College of Human Sciences Dean Stephan Wilson, and university officials Sissy Osteen and Jarrod Noftsger displayed a pattern of partisan bias and oftentimes publicly criticized President Donald Trump and his supporters.

In one incident of bias, Noftsger had allegedly referred to a Trump official as a “fictional movie villain,” stating that conservative views were “why we can’t have nice things.”

“OSU is obligated to assist with the legal defense of claims made against its employees acting within the course and scope of their employment,” said a university spokesperson, according to News 9.

The report added that Bailey also filed a tort claim against the university last month, adding that if the claim is denied, the professor’s attorneys will likely add the school to the latest lawsuit.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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