New allegations have surfaced in a race discrimination suit against Texas Southern University that was filed by Patricia Garrison, a white administrator at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. On Nov. 26, she alleged in a response to TSU’s second motion for summary judgment that the law school’s dean created a position for the wife of TSU’s president — a position Garrison claims should have been hers.
Martin Wickliff Jr., a Houston partner in Cozen O’Connor who represents TSU in Pat Garrison v. Texas Southern University, says the new allegations are “totally untrue.”
Garrison, a dean of academic support at the historically black law school, alleges for the first time in pleadings that TSU Law Dean Dannye Holley created the position for Docia Rudley, the wife of TSU’s president, who was then a law professor at Thurgood Marshall.
Garrison alleges in her response to TSU’s second motion for partial summary judgment that Holley did so after Rudley’s failure to produce scholarly papers put her employment in jeopardy. In her response, Garrison alleges that the position of director of assessment, which Holley granted Rudley, should have gone to Garrison as a promotion.
Wickliff says the director of assessment position “was not created” for Rudley. Moreover, he says, Rudley was not given it “because she is the wife of the president.”
Wickliff declines further comment and refers additional questions to TSU spokeswoman Eva Pickens, who did not provide comment by presstime. Rudley declines comment and refers questions to Wickliff. Holley did not return a call seeking comment. TSU President John M. Rudley did not return a call seeking comment.
Garrison, who claims in a declaration attached as an exhibit to her response to be the only Caucasian administrator at Thurgood Marshall, filed her complaint against TSU on June 23, 2011, and filed an amended complaint on Aug. 29. The amended complaint cites race discrimination and retaliation as causes of action.In the amended complaint, Garrison alleges, among other things, that the university, her employer, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it discriminated against her based on race by withholding her payment for teaching a bar essay course and when Holley chose not to promote her to the director of assessment for which “she was very qualified.” In her amended complaint, Garrison alleges that when Holley became law school dean in September 2009 he “quickly embarked on a campaign to make [Garrison's] life extremely difficult,” including “micromanaging her work” and refusing to use her proper title and to give her a key to the office for weekend use.
On Oct. 23, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison of the Southern District of Texas in Houston denied TSU’s motion for partial summary judgment.
TSU filed a second motion forpartial summary judgment on Nov. 5. In it, the university argues that Garrison “cannot establish a prima facie case of race discrimination and/or retaliation, because she not only lacked the minimum work experience in legal education required, but she also lacked the higher education classroom teaching experience (preferred by the university) and the assessment experience necessary for the position (in contrast to the other finalists for the position).”
The university argues in that motion also that Garrison’s inexperience stood in “stark contrast” to Docia Rudley’s background and notes that DociaRudley had two decades of legal education experience.
Kathy Butler, a partner in Houston’s Butler & Harris who represents Garrison, says, “The university admits that following policies and procedures is important . . . .” She continues, “[T]his is a case where they didn’t do that.” Garrison did not return one call to her office.