Student cites newsletter opinions in harassment complaint

TEXAS — A student at the University of Texas in Dallas is suing university officials, including the president, for continued harassment that he believes stemmed from views he expressed in two student publications.

Christopher Foy named 14 officials at the university including President Franklyn Jenifer and several deans and provosts in his complaint, which is scheduled to be heard by a Texas district court in August 1998.

Foy said the alleged harassment from university officials — which he claims ultimately led to his dismissal as a teaching assistant at the school — stemmed partly from his opinions written first in columns for the university paper, the UTD Mercury and later for a departmental newsletter he started in fall 1996, called The Other Guise. Foy dealt with topics including changes in the university administration with Jenifer as the new president and affirmative action.

In one issue of his newsletter, The Other Guise, Foy questioned Jenifer’s appointment as university president.

“I therefore ask Dr. Jenifer to admit the reasons for his appointment to UTD. I posit the UT system was being forced to appoint a black academic to the presidency, and our campus was seen as the one who would lead the fewest revolts over a heneous [sic] appointment,” one November issue stated.

Foy’s complaint states that an administrator accused him of using racial biases in the newsletter and stealing paper to produce it.

Foy is still continuing his doctoral studies in the School of Arts and Humanities at the university, and his complaint contends that he “has been deprived of his reputation and good name in the community.”

W.O. Schultz, general counsel for the University of Texas, called the lawsuit “completely baseless” and said Foy’s dismissal was legal and had nothing to do with his views.