A former University of Oregon professor is suing the school because he claims that he was discriminated against because of his Asian-American heritage and his boss made him do odd, unethical chores. The amount of the lawsuit is unknown.
The plaintiff, Dr. Yongli Zhang, was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. in 2003 when he was 27. He joined the University of Oregon in 2009 to teach business, according to the lawsuit
The defendant is one of Zhang’s coworkers, Dr. Yue Fang, and is being sued along with the school. Fang was one of three members reviewing Zhang’s tenure application. Fang is also Chinese-American.
The lawsuit states that Fang “forced” Zhang to help his son with a high-school science project. It also states that Fang forced Zhang to “falsely include Fang’s high school-aged daughter’s name in the enrollment in one of Zhang’s classes so that she should earn college credit.” Also, the lawsuit states that Zhang was forced to loan Fang $40,000 to buy a new home.
UO spokesman Tobin Klinger wrote in an email to The Emerald that “The University disagrees with the allegations and will address them in the court proceedings,” but is unable to provide additional details.
The lawsuit implies that Fang acted in such a manner because “the Chinese culture that Zhang grew up in required a respect for elders and senior colleagues.” The lawsuit also says that because of the small size of the Chinese-American community, “Fang knew that the more recent immigrants like Zhang tend to rely on more established immigrants like Fang for guidance and assistance in navigating the American workplace.”
But then, according to the lawsuit, Fang asked for credit in one of Zhang’s research papers, although he was not involved with it.
“Because Fang was upset at Zhang’s refusal and because Zhang’s conduct no longer fit
Fang’s stereotype of a subservient Chinese immigrant, Fang used his influence to deny Zhang’s tenure application,” in 2015.
According to the lawsuit, UO didn’t grant Zhang a tenure position, didn’t renew his “expected” contract and conducted no investigation into the matter.
The lawsuit states that Zhang was “confident in the prospects of his tenure application,” which included five publications in academic journals, two papers in first-round review and one paper ready for submission.
Dr. Fang, the defendant, still teaches at the UO Lundquist College of Business.
The Emerald reached out the Zhang’s lawyer, David Griggs of Griggs Law Group, for comment but did not immediately hear back.
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