A federal judge ruled in favor today of Lehigh’s motion for summary judgment in a nearly year-long court battle with a Lehigh professor, effectively dismissing the case in a win for the university.
Monica Miller, an associate professor of religion and Africana studies, sued the university in March 2019 on allegations that Lehigh discriminated against her based on race and sex, and retaliated against her. She claimed the university dismissed her complaints that James Peterson, the former director of Africana studies, sexually harassed her in order to maintain the university’s reputation as one of diversity.
Peterson was placed on leave in late 2017 and eventually resigned in January 2018. Miller is currently employed by the university.
“Lehigh’s alleged discriminatory and retaliatory acts are either time barred or unexhausted,” wrote Judge Gerald Pappert. “And on the merits, no reasonable juror could find that Lehigh discriminated or retaliated against Miller under Title VII.”
In context, Pappert wrote in his 28-page decision that Miller either did not fully exhaust all other remedies to seek a resolution to her claims, or that the allegations in the lawsuit were untimely.
Miller’s lawyer, Timothy Kolman of Penndel, said he disagrees with the decision and is considering a request for reconsideration or an appeal.
Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s director of media relations, emailed a statement to The Brown and White.
“We are very pleased with the court’s decision and its recognition that the university did not discriminate against Dr. Miller based upon her race or gender and did not retaliate against her,” she said.
Monica Miller has not replied to The Brown and White with comment.