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July 14, 2021 5:10 pm

Oregon Professor Sues University for Firing After He Aired Concerns of Sexual Harassment, Antisemitism Among Senior Staff

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Riley Center at Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / DerRichter

A Jewish professor who was fired in April from Oregon’s Linfield University has brought a $4 million lawsuit against the college, claiming that he was retaliated against for exposing sexual abuse and antisemitic harassment by the school’s leadership.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner — who was a tenured English professor at Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon — is alleging breach of contract, retaliation and an attempt to “silence” his disclosures of gross misconduct, according to the legal complaint.

After becoming a university trustee in 2019, the complaint said, Pollack-Pelzner raised concerns about several trustees accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In one case, a trustee who later resigned was indicted on charges of abusing four students.

Pollack-Pelzner claims he asked the university address the problem with more training and other measures, but was rebuffed by President Miles Davis, who asked him to withdraw a faculty report detailing other allegations of harassment.

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Davis later accused Pollack-Pelzner of pursuing a “secret agenda” aimed at “destroying Linfield from within.” That same day, Davis is said to have asked in a faculty meeting why several Linfield professors had been “so concerned” with swastikas and other racist and antisemitic graffiti recently discovered on campus.

In the past, Pollack-Pelzner also alleged, Davis had made antisemitic remarks about “Jewish noses” during a discussion of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.”

The scholar’s firing in April triggered a wave of support from hundreds of professors nationwide, who signed a petition demanding an investigation of his dismissal.

On Monday, university spokesman Scott Nelson denied Professor Pollack-Pelzner’s allegations, describing his claims as “without merit” and a “distraction from the important work underway at the university.”

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