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UCI Staff, Regents Sued Over Race-Bias Claims

September 19, 1998|DANIEL YI

A former UC Irvine professor has filed a lawsuit against the University of California regents and a number of current and former UCI staff members, accusing them of overlooking allegations of racial discrimination at the university.

Among other charges, Richard Brahm, a professor at UCI's Graduate School of Management between 1988 and 1994, accuses Dennis J. Aigner, a former dean of the school and currently a professor of economics there, of retaliating against Brahm because he was willing to testify to the allegations of racism.

Brahm alleges in his suit, filed Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court, that during a private conversation in 1991, Aigner "made discriminatory remarks about" professors Waymond Rodgers, an African American, and Joanna Ho, who is Asian.

During Ho's tenure review in 1994, Brahm, who is white, informed UCI's administration that Aigner and other UCI employees had illegally discriminated against her. He authorized Ho to cite his testimony about Aigner's previous remarks, the suit states. It does not specify what the remarks were.

Brahm alleges that after Aigner learned of his actions, Aigner sabotaged Brahm's own tenure review, leading to his termination in 1994. Brahm has since moved to Westport, Conn. He could not be reached for comment.

He is suing for breach of contract and wrongful termination, and is seeking an unspecified amount.

Aigner said Friday that he was not aware of the lawsuit.

"The university investigated the allegations and decided that they were not supported, so I don't have any other comments beyond that," he said.

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