An African-American Texas Christian University student was continually “dehumanized, harassed and discriminated against” by the college’s faculty and staff, according a federal lawsuit filed in Dallas last week.
The 20-year-old, identified only as “Jane Doe No. 1,” alleges she suffered “emotional distress” and even considered taking her own life following a trip to Washington, D.C., with the university’s honors college last year.
Doe was just one of two Black students in TCU’s John V. Roach Honors College, who she claims were chosen to attend the D.C. trip as a way to “tokenize” them, and boost the university’s reputation as “a diverse educational institution,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit paints a much different picture, however, and points to “over a century of hateful campus culture” Doe says has gone unchecked for far too long.
The Oklahoma native, whose complaint says she transferred to TCU with a 4.0 GPA in January 2018, claims she was subjected to racist comments and harassment from school staff because of her race. She alleges much of the mistreatment allegedly came from Diane Snow, dean of the honors college. The complaint says Snow assaulted Doe on multiple occasions and hurried her to keep up with the rest of the group despite the painful blisters Doe developed from extensive walking during the trip.
Moreover, Snow told Doe she should consider herself “lucky” to even be part of the summer trip and commented that Doe could “experience the feeling of being crowded into a slave cargo ship” during their visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The shocking suit names Snow and several others as defendants, including TCU’s board of trustees and at least five other university employees. Each are accused of conspiracy and intentionally inflicting emotional distress, WFAA reports.
Among the claims, Doe says she and another Black student in the honors college were forced to sleep on sofas instead of a hotel bed. The student said she arrived to her room last July to find that her white roommates had taken up both beds and all the closet space.
Doe further claims she had limited access to the bathroom and was forced to go elsewhere to relieve herself. She said she was “segregated and dehaumanized” for much of the 2019 trip and that her reports of racism went largely ignored.
In fact, the suit said Doe has yet to hear back from TCU’s Title IX office after filing a formal complaint last September.
The complaint goes on to accuse the university of revoking her merit-based scholarship without reason, isolating her from white classmates and falsely accusing her of plagiarism, among several other alleged abuses.
Doe is seeking a jury trial, along with damages and exemplary damages.
TSU responded to the suit Wednesday, saying the student’s complaint is still under review.
“At this time, the University’s main priority is to ensure out student’s success and to investigate the student’s complaint,” the university said in a statement. “If we discover that any of these allegations are accurate, we are committed to addressing them.”
The university, which is a predominately white campus, acknowledged it has a “complex history” as it pertains to race, but insists it is “taking an active approach to examining and understanding.”