Transgender Professor Denied Tenure and Terminated

University's Baptist vice president allegedly fired her because of her lifestyle

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Rachel Tudor, Assistant Professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, was allegedly denied tenure and terminated because of her gender identity, Raw Story reports.

Tudor was recommended for tenure and a promotion by her colleagues last year. According to university policy, the president is obliged to honor faculty recommendations, except in cases where there is a "compelling reason" or "exceptional circumstances" to reject a recommendation. However, the Vice President of Academic Affairs issued an unprecedented memo prohibiting Tudor from applying for tenure, and even after a faculty committee unanimously ruled that Tudor should be allowed to apply, the President refused to honor their decision.

"President Minks and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Doug McMillan, have refused to meet with me in person," Tudor said. "In addition, it has been reported to me from reliable sources that Doug McMillan is committed to severing me from the university because he disapproves of my gender identity."

Claire Potter, a professor of American studies and history at Wesleyan University, told Daily O'Collegian that the dean and vice president deem Tudor's "lifestyle" inappropriate. After transitioning, Tudor had apparently been told that “she could only use the single handicap bathroom located quite a distance from her office.” And vice president MacMillan reportedly “openly asserted that Tudor’s lifestyle ‘offends his Baptist beliefs.’ ”

Bilerico provides further details:

The most salient reason given by the Administration for her first tenure denial is that it was claimed that they were unable to verify that she was co-editor of two journals. That would be a serious accusation indeed, if it were not for the fact that the journals are journals of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and a trip down the hall to the Journal's offices could probably clear up the problem.

Tudor, who recently received the Faculty Senate Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship, said:

"I firmly believe that I was not granted tenure because of discrimination... I have no expectation that the administration will acknowledge its numerous violations of due process, policy, and the law. I anticipate participating in prolonged litigation and lobbying of the state’s oversight authorities to compel President Minks and Doug McMillan to simply do the right thing..."

While Oklahoma's non-discrimination law covers race, creed, gender, color and national origin, it does not currently address gender identity or sexual orientation.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.