A former law professor at Campbell University accused the school of racial discrimination on Facebook Live on Friday, saying African-Americans don’t get tenure at Campbell.
Amos Jones made the assertions on Facebook and on a San Diego-based Christian radio broadcast. In a phone interview Friday, he said that he was passed over for tenure and that his contract was not renewed. He left the school in May.
“They haven’t tenured a black in 11 years,” Jones said. “They cannot suddenly change that. Their record speaks for itself. ... They have a problem with hiring blacks and that will change, whether it’s me or not. They cannot continue to do that. The American Bar Association expects more in their accreditation standards.”
Jones said students are suffering because of the school’s hiring and promotion practices.
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Campbell University Law Dean Rich Leonard responded with a message sent to the school and posted on Twitter and Facebook. It said that the university had wanted to keep the dispute with Jones private “out of respect for a former colleague.”
“However, his outrageous, defamatory and false accusations made today require us to speak,” the Campbell statement said. “What the record indisputably shows is that in Professor Jones’ sixth year at the law school when he was required to apply for tenure, he declined to do so. The law school followed all of its procedures precisely, appointing a tenure panel to evaluate Professor Jones and informing him of the deadline to file his materials. On multiple occasions, he acknowledged these requirements. Nonetheless, he submitted nothing, instead creating a completely false controversy that his illusory application had been denied.”
His outrageous, defamatory and false accusations made today require us to speak. ... We will take all necessary steps to protect our reputation.
Statement from Campbell University Law Dean Rich Leonard
The Campbell statement added that the school is proud of its record in every area, including affirmative action. “We will take all necessary steps to protect our reputation,” it said.
Leonard declined to discuss the case further.
He did say the school has three African-American faculty members scheduled to teach this fall – one on the tenure track, one who declined to seek tenure and one visiting professor who is tenured at Mississippi College School of Law. The school has four adjunct faculty, a dean and three senior staff who are black, Leonard said.
Jones said Campbell’s statement about his failure to apply for tenure is untrue. He said he filed an application in 2016 and a tenure panel was put together. He said an associate dean called him in January and told him his performance was unacceptable for tenure.
On Facebook, he said that Campbell’s white tenured faculty refused to extend him a tenure vote in March 2017 and that his contract was not renewed for the seventh year – the traditional year for obtaining tenure. This happened, he said, despite his promotion to associate professor in 2015.
They want to run a school without black men. They’ve been doing it for a decade now, in terms of tenure. They don’t tenure blacks.
Amos Jones, former law professor at Campbell University
Jones also said that Leonard last year referred to him as “a rock star on my faculty who will get tenure.”
Earlier this year, Jones made two complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – one in January regarding discrimination and one in February regarding retaliation. Those complaints are under investigation and are not public, Jones said. He declined to release the complaints.
Jones, 39, is a Baptist deacon who has his own law firm in Washington. He has degrees from Emory University, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard Law School. In 2015 he was a visiting faculty member at the University of Oxford in England, and he was a Fulbright Fellow in Australia in 2006-07, according to his website.
At Campbell, he taught contracts and a legal history seminar called “The Black American Lawyer.” Three students posted on Campbell Law’s Facebook page Friday, complaining about too many of Jones’ classes being canceled.
Jones said about 80 percent of his student evaluations were positive.
On Facebook, the former professor wrote that the ABA had previously raised concerns about Campbell’s record on hiring and keeping black faculty. He said “inferior whites” have advanced on Campbell’s faculty while “superior blacks are blocked.”
“All of this takes place as the school seeks quietly to shed its Baptist identity, purging an avowed Baptist (me) without due process,” he wrote.
“I will continue to tell the truth and make these crooked ways straight,” he said in an interview. “They want to run a school without black men. They’ve been doing it for a decade now, in terms of tenure. They don’t tenure blacks.”