Another NCCU employee alleges racial discrimination, retaliation

DURHAM (WTVD) -- An African-American professor at North Carolina Central University has joined forces with the law firm representing four former and current university employees who allege racial discrimination and retaliation because they're white.

"We shouldn't tolerate behaviors that would not be tolerated at any predominantly white UNC campus and we're forced to do that on an almost daily basis," said James Pearce.

Pearce says he was hired in 2008 as a department chair at NCCU. He would eventually file two EEOC complaints against NCCU in 2010 and in December 2014. Pearce says he was denied a promotion because he complained about what he alleges are "racially discriminatory hiring practices" at NCCU.

He recently applied for a position as the chair of the Department of Language and Literature. He believes the post went to a less qualified candidate as a form of retaliation after he complained about NCCU's hiring practices. He filed a third Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint last week. Click here to see Pearce's complaint.

The attorneys with the Chapel Hill law firm representing a female employee who filed an EEOC complaint in June say their client was recently placed on unpaid leave.

The unidentified employee alleges racial harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. She claims her calls for help were ignored for more than a year because she's not Black.

Pearce's new EEOC complaint proceeds three discrimination lawsuits filed by a former NCCU former business school professor, the former director of business programs, and the Chancellor's former Chief of Staff.

One lawsuit alleges Chancellor Debra Saunders-White spent state funds on personal items. Last week, a public relations firms provided the news media with financial records, including an expense receipt for a treadmill on behalf of the plaintiff's attorneys.

The lawsuits and the EEOC complaints also take aim at the UNC Board of Governors, alleging the governing body was made aware of racial discrimination problems through an anonymous letter, but have yet to take any action.

A redacted version of that letter obtained by the plaintiffs' attorneys was provided to ABC11. It alleges systemic problems from misuse of taxpayer dollars to nepotism.

ABC11 contacted NCCU for comment on the latest complaint. A university spokesperson said they were unable to confirm whether the NCCU had received the latest complaint.

In an email to the campus community earlier this month, Saunders-White called the allegations "hurtful" and "malicious."

Click here for a statement from NCCU.

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