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