Update on UNA Discrimination Suits

March 10, 2017
by Staff Reports

 From a very concerned citizen…

I have been following this story and trying to understand why the only coverage something this big has received is from you and the UNA student newspaper the FlorAla. The Times Daily, which is the local newspaper in Florence Alabama, can write articles about the University of North Alabama (UNA) winning diversity awards but conveniently Jennifer Edwards who is the reporter assigned to cover UNA chooses to ignore discrimination information that was written by a student in UNA’s student newspaper the FlorAla. I know for a fact Times Daily reporters are very aware of these lawsuits. The Times Daily is very much known for slanting its reporting for certain entities and has been accused of covering up any negative press about UNA. The strong ties and allegiance the University has to very influential people throughout the State is so strong that most people are afraid to report the many incidents and this particular young lady has had to file and fight this complaint herself. But in doing so some very corrupt actions of HR and the Administration has finally been exposed.

It is time that the “real” UNA is exposed. I’m believing God that someone somewhere will help get this story in main stream media which will force the local paper to finally do an article.

These facts can very easily be verified.

Preciously reported by you……

The Northern District of Alabama U.S. District court issued a court summons July 22nd for the University of North Alabama involving alleged employee discrimination.

Plaintiff Audrey Mitchell, Director of Environmental Services and Housing Facilities Management initiated the summons and has filed as a Pro Se. In the case, Mitchell’s claims include race-based employment discrimination and harassment as well as violation of due process, abuse of power, mental anguish, slander, and retaliation. Mitchell began reporting claims of harassment and discrimination in 2010. Mitchell has since reported various incidents to several University reporting agents including the Ombudsman, three different Presidents, Vice President and the head of Human Resources.

This is a real modern day David and Goliath!

On September 8th, Mitchell updated the lawsuit stating that Catherine White, Assistant VP of Human Resources sent her an email stating she was to attend a meeting where three of the attendees are named in her lawsuit including Catherine White. The other two are Kevin Jacques, Director of University Residences and David Shields, VP of Student Affairs. Mitchell stated she was not comfortable attending the meeting blindly given the circumstances but she was told she would not know the agenda of the meeting and her attendance was not optional.

During the meeting, Audrey was informed the University hired a mediator Mike Quinn because “It is no secret that there is an ongoing conflict between Kevin Jacques, Director of University Residences and Audrey Mitchell. This conflict has caused the university and students to suffer and they deserve better. White went on to say “if Jacques and Mitchell could not find a way to collaborate and work together the university would have to move on without them”. The concern that led to hiring a mediator was it was reported by Jacques that Mitchell did not work with him on Move In Day and would not work with him to solve an issue concerning removing a hold on a student. However, Mitchell was not asked about any of these claims by Jacques nor was an investigation done to see if these allegations were valid. Mitchell was not informed of these allegations until Mike Quinn, the mediator, told her during their meeting. Mitchell explained both charges and showed that these allegations were false. However, she asked why nothing is done when she files complaints and actually provides years’ worth of irrefutable evidence. Mike Quinn is also a retire attorney who specialized in prosecuting employment discrimination cases.

University submitted a motion on Sept. 22nd to strike this additional complaint as well as the initial complaint. The Judge immediately denied the motion Sept. 23rd.

Since your last article…..

On October 21, 2016, Mitchell received a memo from Catherine White stating that based on Mr. Mike Quinn’s recommendation the University has decided to proceed with re-organizing the reporting structure of Mitchell and Jacques departments so that we report to a common position. The memo went on to say that “although you will directly report to this position, you will continue to indirectly report to your respective Vice Presidents. Mitchell was moved in January 2015 from Mr. David Shields’ supervision due to complaints filed and the University receiving a charge notification from the EEOC.

However, on January 19, 2017, Mitchell was summoned to another meeting where Catherine White announced that she would be moved back under Shields’ supervision and forced to work with Kevin Jacques effective February 1, 2017.

How can you force anyone back under the supervision of the very person they filed multiple complaints against while a very active and heated lawsuit is still in front of a federal judge. No this doesn’t look like classic retaliation and workplace harassment. No this doesn’t look like Audrey Mitchell is being setup. Steve Wonder could see the hidden agenda behind this move. What are President Kitts and the attorneys thinking?

The University has since motioned the Court to dismiss Mitchell’s Complaint claiming the things that happened were frivolous and small and also claiming immunity due to the Eleventh Amendment.

Immunity…. very convenient. To me that means we’re guilty but you can’t do anything about it because I’m big government and you’re a nobody.

Mitchell has submitted a response to the motion on January 31, 2017 including over 30 exhibits which include several audio recordings of key Administration including head of HR, two VPs, her forced meeting with Mike Quinn and several others supporting her claims.

I wish I could hear these audios.

Mitchell also submitted a motion on January 23rd claiming UNA committed several acts of perjury and has refused to release several key documents Mitchell has requested through Discovery. The Court is still reviewing the motions.

Since 2013, there have been three other employment discrimination lawsuits filed against the University of North Alabama. Kathy Adler filed a lawsuit December 9, 2013, Fei Xu filed a lawsuit December 5, 2014 and Isaac Jones Jr. filed a lawsuit September 29, 2015. Each of these lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of Alabama U.S. District Court. None of these were ever reported. You cannot convince me that no one at Times Daily knew anything about these EEOC complaints and federal lawsuits. Where there’s smoke there’s fire and something is burning and stinking at the University of North Alabama.

Kudos to Ms. Audrey Mitchell for standing up to Big Government. I can only imagine how stressful and hard her life must be since she decided to file these complaints and ultimately a federal lawsuit on her own. I pray she gets the justice she is seeking and I wish more would stand with her.

: News

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