John Moraros and Yelena Bird, the former health-science professors who have raised allegations of racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against New Mexico State University in a highly contentious case, have now filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the university and various administrators. The professors, a married couple who were fired from the university’s public-health department in February, are joined in the suit by two professors who support them, Satya Rao and Robert Buckingham, and by Freedom Cheteni, a graduate student.
Along with the university, the lawsuit names Larry K. Olsen, a former associate dean who sent pornographic e-mail to Mr. Moraros; James Robinson, the former department head who dismissed the couple; Robert Gallagher, the outspoken chairman of the Board of Regents; and Michael V. Martin, the former university president who is now chancellor of Louisiana State University.
In a local public-radio report about the lawsuit, Christopher Moody, a lawyer for the couple and the other plaintiffs, said they would have preferred to resolve the dispute outside of court. “All five of these people really, really, really tried to work things out within the university,” he said. “They brought this lawsuit because they were essentially forced to do so. This was not their first choice.”
The university had no comment in the radio station’s report. —Scott Carlson