TCU faces another discrimination lawsuit, aimed at 'entrenched institutional racism'
A former employee of TCU, who is Hispanic, told KERA that the university discriminated against her during her employment and while she was terminated.
A new lawsuit against TCU accuses the university of discriminating against a Mexican-American employee during her employment and her termination.
Linda Lopez received excellent employee reviews during her more-than-13-year tenure at TCU, where she worked in the university advancement department, the lawsuit states.
A supervisor once described Lopez as a “rock star,” but her employee reviews took a sudden negative turn after she went on leave to recover from health issues, including a bout of meningitis, according to the lawsuit.
“Among other unwarranted criticisms, the review chastised Lopez for taking time for bereavement leave to comfort her children whose father died,” the lawsuit says.
Lopez’s supervisor started judging her unfairly compared to her white peers, and after she brought her concerns to the university, twice, Lopez was told she was being laid off, according to the lawsuit. It adds that Lopez's duties then went to a less experienced white employee.
Discrimination is part of the wider culture at TCU, where Hispanic people at all levels are “invisible,” Lopez said in an interview with KERA.
"TCU's just not diverse, and it needs to get better,” she said. “It could be such a great school if the climate changed.”
The lawsuit, filed on March 8, seeks to compensate Lopez for her lost wages and emotional suffering. The lawsuit also points out that Lopez lostthe free tuition available to the children of TCU employees, something Lopez’s son hoped to take advantage of.
“I mean, that was the whole reason I was working at TCU in the first place, in hopes that one of my children would eventually go to TCU,” she said.
In a statement, a TCU spokesperson said the university does not comment on legal or personnel matters.
“We can share that consistent with our internal practice, TCU engaged an outside investigator through our Office of Institutional Equity to review the employee’s claims. The outside firm did not find any instances of illegal discrimination,” the statement said.
Lopez’s lawsuit is one of multiple discrimination lawsuits filed against TCU in recent years. Five Black women sued TCU for discrimination and settled with the university last year,the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Another Hispanic employee sued the university for discrimination in 2019 and also settled, court records show.
Outside of the courts, members of the TCU community have called on the university to improve the way it treats faculty, staff and students of color. In 2020, students marched against racism on campus, and more than 100 faculty and staff memberssigned a call to action against racism and gender discrimination.
"We want to affirm that students of color and students of other marginalized backgrounds HAVE and ARE being underserved and undervalued at TCU. It is not just in your head,” the letter states.
As for Linda Lopez, who once held TCU football season tickets, the school now leaves her with “an ugly, sick feeling.”
"TCU’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember," she said. “Now I cringe if I have to even go near TCU."
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