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Equal-Employment Agency Rules Against Emory U. in Tenure-Denial Case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it has found reasonable cause to conclude that Emory University engaged in illegal discrimination and retaliation in its 2010 decision to deny tenure to H. Erik Butler, then an assistant professor of German. Mr. Butler, who is now an adjunct instructor in California, alleged in his EEOC complaint that Emory had discriminated against him for being U.S.-born and Jewish, and had retaliated against him for raising discrimination concerns. In her letter of determination in the case, Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta office, said she had reason to believe Mr. Butler’s accusations and had been unable to substantiate the university’s assertions that Mr. Butler had been denied tenure for “disruptive” and “antagonistic” behavior. She advised the university and Mr. Butler to enter into conciliation talks. Emory’s treatment of Mr. Butler also has been criticized by the American Association of University Professors, which accused the university of denying him tenure in a manner that appeared to violate due process and shared governance.

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