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Rachel Dolezal Sued Howard University For Racial Discrimination In 2002

Dolezal claimed that her artwork was removed from a 2001 exhibition by Howard University personnel in order to make room for artwork from black students.


According to a new report today from The Smoking Gun, embattled former NAACP executive Rachel Dolezal sued Howard University in 2002 for racial discrimination. Dolezal’s lawsuit, which was filed in the District of Columbia, was dismissed by the trial court in February of 2004. On June 14, 2005, the D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s dismissal and ruled in favor of Howard University.

In her suit, Dolezal claimed that the historically black university had discriminated against her on the basis of “race, pregnancy, family responsibilities, and gender.” She also claimed that the school had retaliated against her. Specifically, Dolezal alleged that Howard inappropriately rejected her appointment to a teaching assistantship, rejected her application to be an instructor after she finished her graduate studies, and denied her scholarship funding. She also claimed that some of her artwork was removed from a 2001 exhibition by university personnel in order to make room for artwork from black students.

The appeals court was not convinced by her arguments.

“[Dolezal] presented no evidence that Howard’s failure to hire her following graduation was motivated by race or any other forbidden classification,” wrote Zoe Bush, the judge presiding over the case.

Regarding her claims about the race-based removal of her artwork, the original trial court wrote that the one-year statute of limitations on that particular claim had already expired. That court did not appear to have addressed the direct substance of those particular allegations.

You can read the entirety of the appellate court’s ruling against Dolezal’s allegations of racial discrimination here.