Allegations of discrimination are at the heart of a new lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma, from one of its most senior professors who has been in the spotlight recently for speaking out against administrators.

 Dr. Suzette Grillot is in her 20th year as a professor, now with tenured status, but her leadership titles and pay were stripped away this year. She says the decision is the result of her fight for equality.

A moment at a student rally against racism in January made headlines when the former Dean of the College of International Studies spoke out against President Jim Gallogly, calling for his immediate resignation. That was just days after Grillot learned her department would lose nearly half of its funding and she was fired as Dean.

 She says it was a move specifically targeting and discriminating against foreign students.

“The College of International Studies was going to be cut,” she explained at Friday’s media briefing on the lawsuit. “I said no. I was fired. I got mad. I used an expletive at a rally. That’s what pretty much everyone knows and sees, but that’s not the whole story.”

In her new lawsuit, Grillot says she made less than the male Deans on campus for years despite her efforts towards equal pay, and she says she is not alone.

“I hope that this lawsuit will shed light on this issue and lead to relief and justice,” she says, “not only for me but for all women at OU who have been subjected to this unfair and illegal treatment.”

Grillot remains a professor on tenure, but no longer has any leadership status. She is seeking damages for her drastic cut in pay and wants change on campus.

“Tenure is what allows people like me to be able to step outside of that culture of fear, regardless of how hard it is, and believe me, I’m still afraid,” she says.

 A representative from the University of Oklahoma said they have not yet received a copy of the complaint, but they are confident that the university has “fulfilled its responsibility to treat all its employees fairly and equitably.”

Watch the news conference below:

 
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