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LEWIS v. CHICAGO STATE COLLEGE

March 19, 1969

CARY B. LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHICAGO STATE COLLEGE ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The plaintiff Lewis is a Negro associate professor at Chicago State College, an Illinois college supported by public funds. In 1967 and 1968, the Department of Business Education recommended that he be promoted to full professor, but the appropriate faculty committee and the school's administration declined to do so.

Lewis has now instituted this civil rights action, claiming that the college and its governing officers discriminate against Negro faculty members in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1985(3). Plaintiff asks this court to promote him to a full professorship and to require the school to allow him to participate in the administration and various faculty committees. In response, the defendants have moved for summary judgment, alleging that the failure to promote Lewis resulted solely from an evaluation of his ability. Since the record contains no evidence of racial discrimination, defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

I. Background

Promotions and salary increases at Chicago State College originate with the instructional departments, which submit proposals to the APTS faculty committee. After reviewing the departmental recommendations, the committee forwards its suggestions to the President. Similarly, the President screens the proposals and then presents his recommendations to the Board of Governors which makes the final decision.

In May 1967 the APTS committee suggested that the plaintiff and four white associate professors be promoted to full professor. The President returned all five recommendations, urging the committee "to examine criteria for such promotions * * * and also to study the issues relating to appropriate number and percentage of full professors." Shortly thereafter, the committee resubmitted two of the original recommendations, but Lewis was not one of the two.

The next year, in the spring of 1968, the APTS committee's recommendations did not include Lewis, although they successfully recommended that another Negro associate professor be promoted to full professor.

II. Racial Discrimination

Accepting the truth of plaintiff's three opposing affidavits establishes only that: (1) 1967 was the first time a Negro had been recommended for promotion to full professor, (2) the President's referral back to the APTS committee in 1967 was novel, and (3) the APTS committee's refusal to adopt the Department of Business Education's promotion recommendations in 1967 and 1968 was also unprecedented.

Although the complaint implies that all faculty members must be treated equally, universities justifiably distinguish among teachers who hold different academic ranks. Lewis has been an associate professor for six years and has been at the college for eleven years. Of the other forty-one associate professors, seven have been associate professors for as long or longer than the plaintiff, and five have been employed by the school for more than eleven years. In fact, one associate professor has been with Chicago State College for fifteen years and has been in his present rank for nine years. All of these faculty members are white.*fn1

With respect to salary, Lewis objects because his 1967 and 1968 raises were less than those recommended by his department. Of the associate professors now at the college, however, only three receive a larger salary than plaintiff and twenty-seven receive less. Furthermore, of those who have smaller salaries, four have served longer as associate professors and two have been employed longer by the college. Each of these teachers is white.*fn2

As for faculty and administrative committees, Lewis served as Budget Coordinator for the college in 1966 and had the responsibility for integrating the college's entire budget. He voluntarily resigned this position in 1967. Plaintiff has also served on five other committees: the graduation, student activity fees, faculty welfare, athletic, and McKelvey ...


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