Jones Resigns His Faculty Position at UW-Whitewater
A former dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater accused of misusing school funds has resigned from his faculty position, the university has confirmed.
Lee Jones was fired as dean of graduate studies and continuing education in December after a school audit found he repeatedly broke school rules on credit card spending and travel.
He was moved into a job as a tenured education professor that was guaranteed in his employment contract, but the university had started the process to remove him from that post, citing misuse of school funds.
In a March 22 e-mail to a campus chancellor, Jones blamed “blatant racism and constant harassment” by top administrators for his departure.
“It is apparent to me that I have no choice but to resign or continue to endure harassment from members of the community,” wrote Jones, who is Black.
Jones had not shown up to teach this semester and he provided a doctor’s note to show that he was ill. He said in the e-mail that he has accepted a position “at a university that is more capable and committed” to diversity.
His letter came one week after UW-Whitewater Chancellor Martha Saunders formally sought his dismissal. Saunders accepted the resignation, but she and other school officials have repeatedly denied that racism played any role in Jones’ situation.
“We regret the circumstances that led us to this point, but we wish him well in his future endeavors,” says UW-Whitewater spokeswoman Sara Kuhl.
Jones’ lawyer has already filed a notice with the state warning that he will seek hundreds of thousands of dollars in a discrimination complaint. He says he plans to file a lawsuit against the university in federal court.
The resignation marks another setback in the career of Jones, who founded a national group to help Black men move up the ranks in academia.
Jones had resigned from Florida State University in 2003 as the university investigated his spending there. He was hired in Wisconsin months later.
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