Lawyer: AWOL Professor Alleged Racism Last Summer

MADISON, Wis.

 A University of Wisconsin-Parkside professor, fired this week after not showing up to teach last semester, had informed the school months earlier he planned to stay away until the school resolved its discriminatory environment, his lawyer said.

In a federal lawsuit filed in July, Ogbonnaya Oko Elechi claimed that university officials discriminated against him because of his race and Nigerian descent.

Elechi was under contract to work as an assistant professor in the school’s department of criminal justice this academic year. But UW System spokesman David Giroux said Elechi never showed up, and the university discovered he was working for Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

Following an administrative process designed to give professors a fair hearing, the regents on Friday signed off on a recommendation to fire him.

Elechi’s lawyer, Willie Nunnery, said his client had given the university months of fair warning about his intent to stay away so long as faculty members were biased against him.

“This is more than just him abandoning his class,” Nunnery said.

“I think that he was not going back to work there in an environment he thought was racially discriminatory.”



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