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Bard College Was Sued for Bias & Dean Buying Drugs from Students No Erasure But More Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 21 – Bard College was sued for racial discrimination, in a semi-sealed complaint which says its "nearly all-white Annandale campus [i]s a scenario from the racial horror film, 'Get out.'" Initial complaint on Patreon here.

 Jane Doe the plaintiff is described as a gay woman of color hired by Bard in 2008. which then refused to protect her against a violent student, "conducting a sham investigation against her that was itself an act of racial harassment, and ultimately terminating her employment."  

On August 29 in the case, assigned to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Cathy Seibel, a motion for Jane Doe to proceed under a pseudonym.

On September 2, the parties agreed on a briefing schedule: Bard to oppose by September 27, reply on October 11. But Bard's letter is still not in the docket - they must agree, or filing dueling redactions by September 7. Watch this site.

 The complaint quotes Bard Dean Michele Dominy telling Doe that faculty "thought she was qualified but 'arrogant.'" It says Associate Dean of Student Timand Bates, an alum, "sexually harassed and bought drugs from students."

Doe quotes Chinua Achebe he left Bard because he could not stay at a place that treated his wife that way - calling her "crazy" and "off her rocker."

On September 12 Judge Seibel ordered that the entire letter of August 30 be docketed: "ORDER re: [18] Memo Endorsement: The parties have agreed that Defendants 8/30/22 letter (to which ECF No. 14 responds) should be docketed, except Plaintiff wants one sentence redacted and Defendant objects. I find no grounds to redact the disputed sentence. To the extent Plaintiff is concerned that the sentence will be misconstrued as suggesting sexual impropriety, I can only say that any such inference is unsupported by the language used. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Cathy Seibel) (Text Only Order)."

On September 13 the letter went into the docket unsealed. Bard says, among other things, "Plaintiff's sexual orientation is no secret as she publicly identifies as a lesbian." It notes Google searches for "Race and the Pastoral" - which lead to Ann Seaton a/k/a Annie Seaton. My Old School, indeed.

Inner City Press received this letter: "Dear Inner City Press Editor:    I am one of the attorneys representing the Plaintiff in the lawsuit against Bard College described in the article published on September 13 in the Inner City Press.   We ask that you please revise the online article to remove mention of what you believe to be the Plaintiff's name. It is not for the press to put its hand on the levers of justice. Our client’s right to proceed anonymously is an extremely important issue of civil rights law that we are arguing in the courts and on which the judge intends to issue a decision on December 5th. Our client’s ability to proceed anonymously is itself important to this country’s ability to deliver on the promise of equal opportunity in higher education because the reason, for example, the dynamic at Bard College has been able to persist for so many decades is because the costs to individuals attempting to enforce their civil rights are so much higher than the potential gain: (1) academic employers do not like to hire people who have sued their former employers, (2) with regard to Bard College, there is near-certainty that, in the words of one witness, “Leon will destroy your career” by, as here, alleging that the termination was not retaliatory but that you are a disgruntled “underperforming” employee who somehow violated Bard policy.    New York amended its human rights law in 2018 and again in 2019 to allow punitive damages and to require that settlement agreements not be made contingent on plaintiffs signing non-disclosure agreements because the legislature realized that these lawsuits are not being brought and litigated in public but instead settled behind closed doors with defendant employers exacting non-disclosure agreements; in other words, in a manner where the public cannot scrutinize the facts or have any way of knowing what is going on on College campuses. And that’s because the power differential has been so heavily on the side of the institution because of the combined effect of the reputational costs, for plaintiffs, of bringing a lawsuit and the lack of resources to do so. Please don’t use your journalistic platform to put a finger on that scale. As you already know, public disclosure of our client’s identity is not important to determination of the facts that the public cares about: did Bard College terminate her because she is a whistleblower? Are the facts alleged in the complaint true? All of that is information that does not depend on her identity, but on Bard’s own conduct.     Sincerely,     Zachary Bendiner  (from the Law Office of Avery P. Gilbert)."

  On December 5, Judge Seibel ruled that the name may not be withheld: MOTION to Seal filed by Jane Doe.. the Court DENIES the motion. The Clerk is directed to terminate the Motion (Doc # 8). Plaintiff is directed to file Complaint that redacts what is proposed in the November 21, 2022 letter and to add the Plaintiff's name. The parties are directed to meet and confer regarding any further redactions, and if the Defendant(s) or Third Parties want to make a motion, then they need to follow the necessary protocols."

On December 29, 2022, this was docketed: "NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff(s) and or their counsel(s), hereby give notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice and without costs against the defendant(s) Bard College. Document filed by Jane Doe. Proposed document to be reviewed and processed by Clerk's Office staff (No action required by chambers)."

But it wasn't over, at least the requests or demands. Bard demanded that the Complaint be taken off web sites, including at Yale Law School. This was opposed on First Amendment grounds, and because the court no longer has jurisdiction over the parties, after dismissal of the case. But the requests and demands continued.

Inner City Press' approach? Not to remove or censor, but to publish more. We received this:
"Dear Matthew Russell Lee: I attended Bard college from 2013 to 2017 and was named in the lawsuit filed by Anne Seaton. I noticed you had posted several updates about the case and have some extra information.   Firstly all the claims made about me are completely false. It isn’t as if she’s slightly off with her facts, or mixed up a few dates, Etc. She invented fake stories, and has a pattern of doing this to people who cross her  

Secondly, I can’t repudiate her other claims with the same degree of certainty. Her accusations do fit her pattern of taking a tiny grain of truth and spinning it into a falsehood designed to ruin reputations. I know many of the other people named in the lawsuit and none of it makes any sense. I spoke to several people and they also claimed everything she was accusing people of was completely fictional

  I think the truth is important and to some degree Anne Seaton has been able to semi-publicly lie with little recourse. Her claims aren’t just false, their blatantly ridiculous. You would be hard pressed to find a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ people, yet she claims she was singled out for being a lesbian. Despite holding a number of important positions, and consistently speaking on important panels, she claims she was held back unfairly. When she was finally fired after complaints (including some from queer people and POC ironically), she used the courts to smear people under a cartoonishly foolish guise of anonymity." That was preferred, but not a deal breaker. Watch this site.

Watch this site.

The case is Doe v. Bard College, 22-cv-7258 (Seibel) 

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