The Ex-professor from the University of Maryland has filed a lawsuit of discrimination against the College of Education while accusing them of terminating her from the institute was retaliation by her own superiors because of her extramural advocacy in favor of Israel.
Melissa Landa – former professor from the University of Maryland started up an investigation with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, while cross-filing with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations after an important Title IX investigation was completed in November found no evidence at all that the University Officials had discriminated against Landa on basis of her political affiliations, religions, and national origins.
As per lawsuit, Landa went to cite a string of the incidents that ran through 2016 to 2017, while leading her to the termination last summer. She had accused that she was discriminated on the basis of her religion, political affiliations and her gender identities.
She further claimed that her confrontations repeatedly went on for two years in meetings with both the chair and associate chair department for Teaching and Learning, Policy, and Leadership, Francine Hultgren and John O’Flahavan, over her pro-Israel, anti-boycott activities and taking time off so that she could observe her religious holidays.
This lead Landa to eventually file a complaint with the faculty’s grievance board, as she was removed from her teaching course that she herself developed. Landa was taken off this class right after she told the TLPL administrators that she had to enter a research partnership with the Levinsky School back in Israel, which was dependent on her teaching the course.
The grievance board had, during this summer, found nothing that was wrongly done by the university, Hultgren and O’Flahavan, but they recommended that Landa was to be reinstated to her previous teaching statuses. Just 3 days later, Hultgren said that Landa’s contract would not be renewed.
Hence, a Title IX investigation was launched to look on the matter, and therefore, found that Landa was not discriminated against.
Landa’s lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld, on this matter said that “Seeing a university hold itself accountable for something they’ve done is like seeing a unicorn.” Wilkenfeld is the founding partner at the Washington-based firm Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson.
“Every university is different in how much distance it places between themselves and the Title IX office, but at the end of day, they are still university employees. If I were a Title IX investigator, I’d think there were only a certain number of times I could find against the university, before I’d need to find a new job,” he added.
Wilkenfeld further went on to say that the Title IX process did not consider all the evidence provided by Landa and that the investigator did not contact six out of the eight witnesses that she had listed for her case.