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Barrett v. Illinois Community College District No. 515

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 16, 2015

DR. REUBEN BARRETT, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 515, a/k/a Prairie State College, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MANISH S. SHAH, District Judge.

Dr. Reuben Barrett, an African-American man, is a professor at Prairie State College. Barrett sued the College, its Board of Trustees, its Dean of Liberal Arts, and two other professors, alleging race and gender discrimination. Barrett brought his claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. First, regarding the Title VII claims, defendants argued that Barrett did not exhaust his administrative remedies. Second, defendants argued that, as state actors, they cannot be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. For the reasons below, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Legal Standards

In deciding whether to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), I construe the complaint in the light most favorable to Barrett, accept as true all well-pleaded facts, and draw reasonable inferences in his favor. Yeftich v. Navistar, Inc., 722 F.3d 911, 915 (7th Cir. 2013). To avoid dismissal, the complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Yeftich, 722 F.3d at 915 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Yeftich, 722 F.3d at 915 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

"[A] plaintiff is not required to plead facts in the complaint to anticipate and defeat affirmative defenses. But when a plaintiff's complaint nonetheless sets out all of the elements of an affirmative defense, dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate." Indep. Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012).

II. Facts

Barrett is an African-American man. [1] ¶ 13. He is a professor of biology at Prairie State College. [1] ¶ 15. Barrett complains that the College and some of its employees have discriminated against him because of his race and gender. [1] ¶ 1. Specifically, Barrett complains that, because of his race and gender:

• He has not served as Chairman of the biology department since 1998, and has never served as a "Coordinator." [1] ¶ 22.
• Defendants have attempted to change his curricula. [1] ¶¶ 31, 35, 71, 102.
• He was denied supplies, course materials, and storage space. [1] ¶¶ 37, 60, 70, 101.
• He was compelled to defend his work to White, female members of the faculty and administration. [1] ¶ 39.
• He was denied training opportunities. [1] ¶ 48.
• He was the subject of ongoing, severe harassment. [1] ¶¶ 51, 53.

Barrett also alleges that he was retaliated against for complaining about this ...


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