Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
HUMBOLDT – The case of Jacquelyn Bolman vs. Humboldt State still reverberates through the university’s politics and culture, and as of May 7, it has entered the legal arena.
Bolman has filed suit against the California State University Board of Trustees, HSU president Lisa Rossbacher, Interim Provost Jenny Zorn, Human Resources Vice President Colleen Mullory and Associate Vice President Radha Webley and other unnamed university personnel. Her lawsuit, filed by Eureka attorney Peter E. Martin, alleges wrongful termination, retaliation, discrimination, violation of due process, and failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.
The lawsuit asks for a jury trial. It demands Bolman’s reinstatement, attorney’s fees and various damages to be determined during the trial.
The complaint cites Bolman’s well-documented October 2014 termination by HSU officials over statements she made about the university to the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), which the university claimed were misrepresentative.
But the lawsuit alleges that, “In fact, Bolman was terminated for her long history of opposition to discrimination against people of color by [former HSU President Rollin] Richmond and the HSU administration,” as well as her report to LSAMP.
A number of incidents are cited to support what the lawsuit alleges was “a campaign to dismantle, undermine and eliminate longstanding programs at HSU that benefitted Native American students” conducted by Richmond from 2005 to June, 2014. Among them are various remarks made by Richmond about Bolman and the Native American Studies (NAS) program, as well as various professional slights such as her lack of promotion or pay increase over nine years of employment.
A cause of action listed in support of the lawsuit is Bolman's lack of promotion and termination based on racial discrimination and association with Native Americans.