Politics & Policy

Court: Firing for Poor Performance, Not Racism

Professor was hired based on race but fired based on incompetence.

A professor who was hired based on her race has lost an anti-discrimination lawsuit in which she claimed she was fired based on her race.

The University of New Hampshire hired Roslyn Chavda during a hiring freeze, then fired her after she received poor performance reviews and failed to publish in scholarly journals.

In the court opinion, New Hampshire district judge Laynda McCafferty stated that criticizing an employee for poor work performance is not discrimination.

“Although she refers to ‘venom’ hurled by her colleagues, the only venom of which she provides any evidence consists of comments about her deficiencies in teaching, scholarship, and interactions with colleagues in the department,” McCafferty wrote.

McCafferty added that the fact that the school hired Chavda based on her race made it particularly unlikely that she had been fired for it.

“UNH was in the midst of a hiring freeze. However, the department was able to get around the freeze, and hire Chavda, because of her race and UNH’s ongoing efforts to enhance racial diversity on campus,” she wrote.

Despite this, Chavda insisted that the work environment at UNH was a hostile place where no one helped her with teaching or publishing — all because she was a pregnant black woman. But she also admitted that she had “no evidence” to support this claim.

“I have no idea, but I mean, that’s what I think,” she said, according to court documents.

Chavda said that the fact that an untenured white male professor who also did not publish kept his job while she lost hers suggests that she was fired based on discrimination — even though this professor had received better reviews than she did.

Chavda said her bad reviews were not because of her performance but because the students who wrote them had been struggling academically.

Chavda had filed the lawsuits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination.

— ​Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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