A judge ruled Monday that Linfield University must pay former professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner a $1 million settlement for wrongful termination after the Oregon university fired Pollack-Pelzner for reporting antisemitism and accusing the school of mishandling sexual abuse allegations, according to The Oregonian.
Pollack-Pelzner was fired in April 2021 after he had reported Linfield President Miles Davis for alleged antisemitic comments in several conversations, in addition to claims that the private university mishandled sexual abuse allegations against a bord of trustees member, according to the lawsuit. The court ordered Linfield to pay Pollack-Pelzner $1,037,500 for wrongful termination and make up for the pay lost after his firing.
“Everyone should be able to work and study without fear of discrimination or harassment, and everyone should be able to report their safety concerns without fear of retaliation,” Pollack-Pelzner told The Oregonian. “I’m grateful for the many students, alumni, and colleagues who joined me in demanding change and refused to be silenced when Linfield failed to uphold these essential principles.”
Pollack-Pelzner claimed that Davis had made a comment about the “Jewish nose” during their first meeting alone and that the university president had told him that he didn’t understand why Pollack-Pelzner “found swastikas threatening,” according to the lawsuit. The professor had also accused the school of mishandling sexual abuse allegations against a member of the school’s board of trustees, who was later indicted, and was eventually fired “for cause” not long after Davis called Pollack-Pelzner a “pathological liar” in a statement to the Anti-Defamation League.
Davis denied the allegations and called Pollack-Pelzner’s claims a “smear campaign,” but apologized if anyone had ever been upset due to his comments, according to The Oregonian.
Linfield University’s Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications Scott Nelson explained in a prepared statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the settlement allowed the school to “resolve this situation and move on” and did not require admittance of wrongdoing.
“Most importantly, this agreement allows Linfield University to focus on building and expanding upon its rich educational heritage and creating a welcoming community for all,” Nelson said.
Davis and Pollack-Pelzner did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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