URI professor who accuses the university of racism files federal lawsuit after dismissal


Sunday 4th July 2021

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Professor Louis Kwame Fosu (left) is suing former URI President David Dooley (right) along with university officials.

A former University of Rhode Island professor who accused the school of “Jim Crow” racism has filed a lawsuit in federal court.

In December, Louis Kwame Fosu, who had taught political science at URI since 2019, threw the school out of responsibility for the “willful and racially demonizing exclusion of highly qualified African-American / Black, Latino / Hispanic and American Indians” from senior and other positions across the board University.”

URI accused Fosu of “unjustified, unfounded and defamatory personal attacks”. In May, Fosu was fired from URI.


The lawsuit filed in the US District Court on Friday aims to “end 129 years of pathetic systemic racism at the University of Rhode Island,” said Fosu.

In the 24-page lawsuit, Fosu – represented by DC-based law firm The Volkov Law Group – alleges that URI violated its First Amendment right to freedom of expression by retaliation against him and denying him due process; that it violates its right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment; and that it violated Article 1 of the Rhode Island Constitution, which partially states: “No one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process, nor shall any person be denied the same protection of the law.”

Fosu also named outgoing President David Dooley – and former Provost Donald DeHayes – individually for defamation.

About suit

The lawsuit alleges that URI has made no past or present commitments to diversity and “continues to adhere to systemic racially discriminatory practices”.

“URI’s record of racial diversity is miserable. In this era of racial awareness, URI stands out as an institution with little diversity in terms of faculty, administration, staff, and students. In fact, URI does not have a culture of diversity and inclusion that goes beyond mere buffering, ”the lawsuit said.

“According to the latest data, the URI faculty is only 3 percent black and the student body is less than 5 percent black. In comparison, Rhode Island College has more than twice as many black students at 10 percent, ”it said.

Fosu states that because of his experience and background, he was hired – and even hired to teach a class that explored “institutional power and advocacy for more”

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Fosu with US Senator Jack Reed. Photo: Reed

“URI describes the plaintiff as a ‘policy expert’ who has ‘earned a doctorate in law from Georgetown University Law Center’ and an MBA and BA from other prestigious academic institutions; who has served as a “special advisor” to US and foreign governments and as a Legislative Fellow to a US Congressman, “the lawsuit said.

“Notably, URI has hired Professor Fosu to teach, among other things, a course on institutional advocacy entitled ‘Political Science Issues: Investigating Institutional Power, Checks & Balances, and Advocacy for a Fairer Society,'” the lawsuit said.

According to Fosu, he began to address problems through the newly founded diversity think tank at URI, which a Twenty-one Page Declaration on Diversity – that he had to expect retribution.

When Professor Fosu “taught his students how to advocate for equality at the URI and encouraged his students to investigate the institutional processes at the URI, the defendants reacted quickly to silence the plaintiff, and punished him for his work immediately requested his dismissal on the basis of fraud charges of alleged wrongdoing, ”the lawsuit reads.

Fosu demands declaratory and injunctive relief and unspecified “monetary damages” as well as legal fees.

URI did not respond to the request for comment on Saturday.

Challenging students

Despite being fired, Fosu continued to hire students after he left URI.

In June, when the US Supreme Court punished a cheerleader fined for Snapchat messages she fined for team guidelines, Fosu sent the following to the students.

“Language that does not pose an immediate threat to life is always protected in America – think of the Matal vs. Tam case – even hate speech is protected. I need all students to take part in this long and important advocacy for justice for African American / Black and marginalized professors at URI who are being silenced and dismissed by our white predatory racist provost Donald DeHayes and senior leadership. You must inherit a better Rhode Island society that is not ravaged by all of the debilitating restraints of racism, ”Fosu wrote.

“I am very eager to testify in court to practically explain how 129 years of white supreme power and intimidation at URI have withered the integrity of blacks and our families – and the degradation we suffer from this normalized culture of racism and fear . I will vividly describe examples of victims in front of me and also those who are currently working quietly in fear at URI, ”Fosu continued. “White racists at URI don’t have to love me or accept my piercing tone of truth, which boldly rejects and disregards racism. What is relevant in court is the verification of my words of truth in all of my documents. We’re going to win big in this lawsuit filed against URI. “

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