Former president McPhail files complaint accusing Saint Augustine's of discrimination

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Ex-president's complaint accuses Saint Augustine's of discrimination
Dr. Christine McPhail filed a formal complaint accusing the HBCU of discrimination weeks after she was abruptly terminated.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two weeks after she was fired as president of Saint Augustine's University, Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail is accusing the HBCU of discrimination.

The complaint, filed by civil rights law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp claims a hostile work environment, including race and gender bias from the board of trustees, who are mostly men, against her and other Black women.

The complaint was filed Tuesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

McPhail, was named president in 2021 after her husband. Irving Pressley McPhail, who was president at the time, died from COVID-19 complications after three months on the job.

. In her complaint, she also alleged that the University retaliated against her by, among other actions, firing her days after she notified the university that she had retained counsel to represent her in discrimination and retaliation claims.

"Dr McPhail poured her heart and soul into the University," said David Tracey of Sanford Heisler Sharp, who represents McPhail. "It is extremely disturbing that the University terminated Dr. McPhail's employment so shortly after she raised claims of discrimination and retaliation."

The board has denied her allegations.

Last Wednesday, the university named Dr. Marcus H. Burgess as new interim president effective immediately.