Attorneys for TCU filed motions May 20 in the U.S. District Court in Dallas to dismiss a lawsuit filed earlier this year on behalf of two current students and an alumna who alleged a pattern of hostility and discrimination at the university and John V. Roach Honors College.
The initial lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of Jane Doe No. 1, an unnamed student who is African-American; she alleged that then-Honors Dean Diane Snow verbally and physically abused her during a month-long summer course in Washington, D.C. The suit also named several faculty members who were part of the trip.
The suit was later amended to include one current student and alumna, both of whom are African-American, who also claimed to have been discriminated against during the their time at TCU.
In the filing attorneys with the Fort Worth firm of McDonald Sanders asked the court to dismiss the suit in part because the plaintiffs failed to show that any alleged discrimination caused them to be deprived of educational or other opportunities or benefits and because their negligence claims fail to state a claim.
Jane Doe No. 1
The lawsuit names several defendants including Snow; Russell Mack, an instructor of strategic communication; Dr. Rob Garnett, the associate dean of the Honors College; Dr. Aaron Chimbel, a former journalism professor at TCU; and Dr. Darron Turner, TCU’s chief inclusion officer and Title IX coordinator.
Dr. Frederick Gooding, a professor and the facilitator of the Washington program, was later dropped from the suit.
Here’s how TCU’s attorney responded to the suit:
- Doe No. 1 failed to plead a plausible substantive claim against Turner and all claims against him should be dismissed.
- Doe No. 1’s Title VI and Title IX claims do not prove TCU’s actions were done out of racial or gender discrimination or retaliation. The motion noted that Doe No. 1 had not been refused any benefits of education programs or activities at TCU. In addition, Doe No. 1’s admission of plagiarism–the only reason for the alleged loss of any educational benefits–is not a result of racial or gender discrimination, according to the motion.
- Since Doe No. 1 did not show that white students “under ‘nearly identical’ circumstances” employed by the university were treated any differently from her, Doe No. 1’s claim of employment discrimination and retaliation should be dismissed, according to the motion.
- According to the motion, Doe No. 1’s Section 504 Rehabilitation Act and ADA claims are not plausible.
- Doe No. 1’s claims for monetary damages under ADA Title III and the Rehabilitation Act should also be dismissed, according to the university’s motion.
- None of the defendant’s negligence claims state a claim, according to the motion. In addition, Doe No. 1’s assault claims against the university as well as her fraud, negligent misrepresentation and DTPA claims should all be dismissed.
The university filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed on behalf of Doe No. 1.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit against Turner.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit naming Snow as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit naming Mack as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1 ‘s suit naming Garnett as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit naming Chimbel as a defendant.
Jane Doe No. 2
In April, a 2018 alumna identified as Jane Doe No. 2 joined Doe No. 1’s lawsuit. In it, Andrew Schoolmaster, the outgoing dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, is accused of groping and touching Jane Doe No. 2 weeks before she graduated, and Leigh Holland, a Title IX investigator, is also named, accused of negligence in fulfilling her duties. TCU, Holland and Turner filed motions to dismiss the suit.
- According to TCU’s motion Doe No. 2 failed to state a claim.
- The Title VI and Title IX claims did not prove that Schoolmaster’s actions were motivated by discrimination or that the harassment prevented Doe No. 2 from accessing any educational opportunities or benefits.
- TCU also claims the suit should be dismissed because the university did not have knowledge about any alleged harassment by Schoolmaster prior to the incident with Doe No. 2. The university also alleges that officials responded to and investigated the plaintiff’s complaint adequately and in a timely manner.
- According to the motion, Doe No. 2’s claim about disparate discrimination fails.
- It also alleges the plaintiff’s claims for damages should be dismissed and that the negligence theories do not state a claim.
- According to Turner’s motion argues that Doe No. 2’s claim that Turner was negligent in his handling of her Title IX complaint against Schoolmaster should be dismissed because the plaintiff had not pleaded plausible substantive claims against the chief inclusion officer.
- According to Holland’s motion, Doe No. 2’s claim of negligence fails and should be dismissed.
TCU’s motion to dismiss the suit filed on behalf of Doe No. 2.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit naming Schoolmaster as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 1’s suit naming Holland as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 2’s suit naming Turner as a defendant.
The motion to dismiss Doe No. 2’s suit naming Holland as a defendant.
Jane Doe No. 3
Jane Doe No. 3, a May 2020 graduate, who joined the lawsuit in April, claims that the discrimination she faced at TCU led to her Type I diabetes diagnosis.
According to the lawsuit, Turner discouraged Doe No. 3 from filing a Title IX complaint; Doe No. 3 alleges she experienced racism on campus, and the way she was treated caused her not to attend class often or turn in assignments on time.
- The university’s attorneys argue that Doe No. 3’s Title VI and Title IX claims should be dismissed, as she does not present any facts that, if proven, would suggest a plausible inference of racial or gender discrimination.
- Another reason why the discrimination claims should be dismissed is because Doe No. 3 fails to show that any alleged discrimination caused her to be denied any educational programs or opportunities, or any other benefits, according to the motion.
- The motion also argues Doe No. 3’s claim that the university has an official policy of purposeful indifference by disregarding or discouraging reports of, or improperly investigating, alleged discrimination of racial minorities and women should be dismissed. In the past, courts that have considered this heightened-risk theory have relied on more than just the claim that the institution has an official policy of purposeful discrimination. In addition, cases that have dealt with potential liability based on a school’s past response to discrimination were focused on sexual assault, not racial discrimination.
- According to the motion, Doe No. 3’s claims under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA are not plausible, and her claims for monetary damages under ADA Title III and the Rehabilitation Act should be dismissed.
- The motion also argues Doe No. 3’s negligence claims fail to state a claim. In a separate document, Turner moves to dismiss Doe No. 3’s claims for failure to state a claim against him for negligence.
The university’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed on behalf of Doe No. 3.
A motion to dismiss Doe No. 3’s suit naming Turner as a defendant.