'I feel proud of myself that I stood up,' law prof says after $750K bias settlement is approved
The University of Idaho Administration Building in September 2012. A former law professor’s lawsuit has alleged that she was twice passed over for associate dean positions and retaliated against when she complained about pay disparities and discrimination. Photo by Davidlharlan, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
A former law professor at the University of Idaho has settled her racial and gender discrimination lawsuit against the school for $750,000 following an October 2022 mistrial in the case.
The settlement resolves allegations by law professor Shaakirrah Sanders, the first Black person to achieve the rank of full professor at the school.
Sanders’ June 2019 suit had alleged that she was twice passed over for associate dean positions and retaliated against when she complained about pay disparities and discrimination. She also claimed that she was required to teach more than the standard 12 credit hours per semester and removed from classes in her area of academic research.
According to the agreement, Sanders will receive a payment of almost $45,000 and monthly payouts of about $2,900 for 20 years from a structured settlement that the school will fund for $201,400.
Sanders’ lawyers at Strindberg & Scholnick will receive nearly $504,000.
A federal judge had denied the school’s motion for summary judgment in August 2021. A mistrial was declared after jurors were unable to agree on a verdict in October 2022.
The defendants in the case deny liability.
Sanders is currently the associate dean for anti-racist and critical pedagogy at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law. She told Reuters that she agreed on a settlement to avoid the financial and emotional toll of a second trial.
“I feel tired from the fight, but I feel proud of myself that I stood up,” she said.
In a news release cited by the Idaho Capital Sun, Sanders said the law school had “declined to investigate and failed to adequately address multiple reports of gender and racially derogatory behavior at the law school,” She said the settlement gives her “space for peace, healing and restoration.”
The University of Idaho said in a statement the settlement was a business decision that will avoid litigation costs and “ongoing distraction to employees and students.”