Scott v. University of Delaware

455 F. Supp. 1102 (1978)

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Scott v. University of Delaware

United States District Court for the District of Delaware
455 F. Supp. 1102 (1978)

Facts

Nolvert Scott (plaintiff) was an assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of Delaware (Delaware) (defendant). After two years of teaching, Scott was up for tenure review. The sociology department faculty recommended that Scott be denied tenure. Scott received a detailed letter explaining the reasons for the decision. These reasons included perceived deficiencies in scholarship and teaching. Scott conceded that he had been aware of these criteria and had not undertaken significant efforts to conduct research with the ultimate aim of publication. The letter also referenced student complaints and poor reviews of Scott’s classes, and it went into detail about Scott’s teaching performance. Scott ultimately left after his contract expired and filed a class-action suit against Delaware, its board of trustees, and various administrators (defendants), alleging discrimination in employment practices. The class consisted of all current and future African American teachers at Delaware. Scott’s suit, brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA), alleged disparate treatment and disparate impact. In support of his disparate-treatment allegation, Scott alluded to examples of non-African American professors receiving additional contract terms to meet the tenure criteria. With respect to Scott’s disparate-impact claim, the evidence focused on the hiring and recruiting practices for African American professors. Scott argued that Delaware’s doctoral-degree requirement and subjective tenure decision-making process had a disparate impact on African Americans. Based on the evidence submitted, four of the 26 full-time African American faculty had attained tenure or were close to attaining it at the time of trial. Nine African American faculty members had left Delaware, albeit voluntarily. Delaware’s witnesses attested to its recruitment efforts among African Americans and the difficulty in attracting qualified applicants due to its location and reputation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stapleton, J.)

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