Doctor, Fmr. Grad Student Sues OU Over Discrimination

Friday, May 3rd 2019, 10:13 am
By: Grant Hermes

A former University of Oklahoma College of Public Health graduate student and current doctor sued the state of Oklahoma and the university for allegedly violating her rights under federal law.

According to court documents filed in federal court, Dr. Susan Rainwater is a current anesthesiologist and was a part of the Master of Health Administration program at OU until about three years ago. She alleges she was dismissed from the program after a series of discriminatory incidents which violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rainwater has a disability which required surgery. The lawsuit doesn't identify her condition, but says it caused her to need extra time for her studies. Her requests for more time because of her disability were met with hostility and discrimination which eventually forced her out of the program. Her appeal, documents say, was denied.

In all Rainwater is suing seven entities or individuals. The State of Oklahoma, the OU Board of Regents, OU, OU health Sciences Provost Jason Sanders, fmr. MHA Director Christina Bennett, Assoc. Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of Public Health David Johnson, and Edwin Ibay, the current MHA director.

Rainwater is asking to be reinstated and is suing each defendant for a maximum total of $150,000 for compensatory and punitive damages amounting to $1,050,000.

“Honestly this is the first I’ve heard this name. I’ll have to do some investigation,” OU Spokesperson Lauren Brookey said in an email when asked about the lawsuit.

This is the second federal lawsuit for ADA discrimination against OU within the year. A former employee of the OU College of Medicine alleges a hostile workplace environment in that suit as well.

It's also the latest in a string of lawsuits or allegations of violations of civil rights against the University. Recently, former Dean Dr. Suzette Grillot sued OU after her firing alleging gender discrimination and possible first amendment violations.

The most public allegations of late have been for alleged Title IX violations surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct and assault by fmr. University President and Vice President, David Boren and Trip Hall, respectively.