Physics Professor Settles Lawsuit
With Prairie View A&M President
A Prairie View A&M University physics professor settled the lawsuit he filed claiming Dr. Charles Hines, the school’s president, set out to ruin his career after the physicist criticized Hines, the professor’s attorney said last month.
Attorney Gaines West said the settlement agreement is confidential, but that physics professor Dr. Dennis Judd “is satisfied with the results.” West said the lawsuit against Hines, Prairie View A&M and the A&M system was settled through mediation.
Judd, a tenured professor at the historically Black school, sued in federal court in Austin in December. He alleged Hines retaliated against him for criticizing Hines’ treatment of grant programs.
Judd said Hines effectively eliminated his work by canceling a U.S. Department of Energy research grant for $673,000 when Hines accused him of staffing violations and misusing funds (see Black Issues, Sept. 13, 2001).
Judd said in the lawsuit that when Hines couldn’t prove his allegations, he failed to renew the grant in a timely fashion. An internal review instituted by Hines found no misuse of federal funds or noncompliance with grant policies in Judd’s program.
Hines said in November he would support continued Energy Department grant funding, however, the delays already had eliminated the grant from the federal budget. Judd has said he will reapply (see Black Issues, Dec. 6, 2001).
The lawsuit claimed racial discrimination, freedom of speech violations and defamation. Judd claimed Hines’ superiors at the A&M University system failed to appreciate his efforts to advance the education of Black college students and allowed Hines to derail his efforts to help Black students get ahead.
“The system does not like the fact that Dr. Judd speaks out regarding the intentional deprivation of funds to African American students — funds which are vital to the advancement and education of the Black students of Prairie View A&M University,” the lawsuit read. “The result is a program in which Rosa Parks could not even get on the bus, much less sit at the front.”
Judd has been a professor at Prairie View since 1987 and became tenured in 1993. In the past seven years, six of Judd’s undergraduate students have gone on to earn physics doctorates, joining a small cadre of Black physicists. Judd has used the grant funding to collaborate with a team of faculty and students on a matter-antimatter research project in California.
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