Judge Permits Self-Represented Civil Rights Retaliation Case Against

Emporia State University and Seven of Its Leaders to Proceed
Federal court rejects University attempts to dismiss Professor Hale’s suit over Title VII claims
against the institution and First Amendment and Section 1983 claims against multiple
administrative leaders with a Scheduling Conference set for August 10, 2016
A federal judge in Kansas has rejected attempts by Emporia State University (ESU) and seven of
its top leaders to abort a lawsuit against them for retaliating against former ESU professor Dr.
Melvin Hale after he and his wife Angelica Hale, who also worked at ESU as an assistant to the
Dean of the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM), reported a hate incident
and staged protest marches against racism on campus. The court also rejected ESUs argument
against Hale’s claims for injunctive relief.
After enduring an 8-month long legal battle, Dr. Hale, who was self-represented, received the
opinion from United States federal judge Sam A. Crow on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Hale’s
third amended complaint was accepted in part, and survives three motions to dismiss the case
and a counterclaim, filed by the State of Kansas Attorney General’s office and opposing
attorneys.
As a result of the ruling, ESU defendants now being charged in the lawsuit for First Amendment
retaliation violation claims are: Jackie Vietti, Interim President; David Cordle, Provost; Gary
Wyatt, Associate Provost; Kevin Johnson, General Counsel and Director of the Koch Center for
Leadership and Ethics; Ray Lauber, Associate Director of Human Resources; Mirah Dow,
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Professor and Interim Dean of SLIM; and Judy Anderson, Executive Director of Human
Resources.
The university is being charged with Title VII violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
landmark civil rights legislation banning employers from discriminating against employees due
to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Among other things, Title VII protects those
who report and/or protest against discrimination from retaliation.
Dr. Hale states: “This is a true David and Goliath story. I am pleased that the court recognized
the merits of my case regarding civil rights and First Amendment freedom of speech violations.
Emporia State University administrators, believing that I was powerless, violated my civil rights
by illegally retaliating against me and banishing me from campus under the cloud of an
‘extended cooling off period’ and believed that they could silence my voice, all for reporting and
protesting against racism on campus. They banished me from my office and colleagues using this
‘extended cooling off period’ and refused to even talk with me other than to issue threats. The
order from the Court, which allows me to proceed with discovery on Title VII claims against
ESU, and First Amendment Retaliation claims against seven defendants, will allow me to
demand and get answers, which is precisely what they have refused to do, despite Jackie Vietti’s
mantra that ‘all voices are heard.’ Now, my voice will be heard. I look forward to justice being
served and letting others know that even if you have to pursue federal charges without an
attorney, there is value in taking the risk to defend yourself when you know that you are right. I
relied on the Court to give me a voice, and I was not disappointed. What was done to me and my
wife should have never happened.” A Scheduling Conference for the case is set for August 10,
2016.

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Judge Crow dismissed additional claims made by Dr. Hale, which include defamation, false
light, and conspiracy. A counterclaim for defamation filed by defendant Debra Rittgers against
Dr. Hale was dismissed. Rittgers’ counterclaim was denied for failure to answer Dr. Hale’s
complaint. Rittgers filed a motion asking the court to alter the judgment, and allow her to file an
answer. On July 22, 2016 judge Crow tossed out defendant Debra Rittgers' motion to amend his
decision to dismiss her counterclaim of defamation against Dr. Hale.

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