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Professor Sues University, Claiming She Was Denied a Promotion for Being a Trump Supporter

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It might be a case of university politics meeting electoral politics.

A professor at Oklahoma State University has filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming she was denied a promotion because of bias against Republicans on campus, according to KWTV in Oklahoma City.

In the lawsuit, Whitney Bailey, an associate professor in OSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Science, argued that she was denied a chance to become a full professor not only because she is a Republican, but also because she actually accepted an appointment in the federal government after President Donald Trump took office.

Bailey took a leave of absence from the school beginning in December 2017 to work as a deputy administrator in the Department of Health and Human Services, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

On her last day on campus before going to work for the government, she found out her promotion to full professor had been denied.

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“Mrs. Bailey suffered discrimination at a public University that has been intolerant of her political beliefs and affiliations, but more specifically, her public service for the Trump Administration,” Geoffrey Tabor, an attorney with Ward & Glass in Norman, Oklahoma, told The Washington Times in an email.

According to KWTV, the suit claims Bailey tried to resolve the situation while working on her leave of absence.

“According to the suit, while with HHS, Bailey kept in contact with OSU officials to push for a promotion in the College of Human Sciences,” KWTV reported.

“Despite positive feedback and accolades for her work, she says she was denied because of her position in HHS and her Republican Party membership. That denial she argues is a violation of her First Amendment rights.”

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In a statement to The Washington Times, the university denied there was anti-Republican bias involved in its decision not to promote Bailey.

“There is no merit to this lawsuit,” the statement said, according to the Washington Times. “Partisan politics did not play any role in any decision relative to Dr. Bailey’s teaching position and class schedule.”

According to KWTV, however, the suit names top administrators it claims made no secret of their dislike for the Trump administration.

Bailey’s complaint claims one administrator likened a Trump official to a “fictional movie villain,” and said conservative policies are “why we can’t have nice things.”

The suit claims Bailey’s promotion was denied despite a faculty committee’s voting 6-2 to recommend her for the position, according to The Washington Times.

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And, according to the lawsuit, the reason for the denial was clear:

“Plaintiff’s political beliefs, status as a registered Republican, and/or acceptance of an appointment to the Trump administration were substantial or motivating factor in Defendants’ actions,” the lawsuit claimed.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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