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NAACP supports professor in lawsuit against UCLA

May 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The NAACP and other groups are taking a public stand in support for Dr. Christian Head, a UCLA surgeon and professor suing the university for racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Among the allegations are two slides Dr. Head says were shown at a UCLA party, one allegedly depicting Dr. Head as a gorilla being sodomized by his white boss, the other of him on the phone, referencing the inspector general tip line, which he says was retaliation for reporting a colleague for alleged timecard fraud.

"I saw something that was wrong," said Dr. Head. "I reported it, and I took a stand. I knew I would be alone. But I think the most important thing is I no longer feel alone."

"We believe that the university has been negligent in investigating the case, and that if necessary, state officials should be brought in to investigate the case, because we feel that he has been retaliated against, he's been discriminated against in his work environment," said Ron Hasson, president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP branch.

UCLA representatives again declined to comment for this story, but they did release another statement saying Dr. Head's attorney approached them a year ago demanding $670,000, funds for a research lab and a guaranteed salary. They said the charges were unsubstantiated at that time, and therefore they declined to settle.

Shannon Foley, Dr. Head's attorney, says he received two incorrect paychecks and wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. And that he wanted to make up for the alleged retaliation he contends affected his income.

A UCLA statement says in part: "Dr. Head's allegations of reprehensible and derogatory behavior are contrary to UCLA's core values and are taken very seriously; such behavior will not be tolerated. ..."

The school's black alumni association is standing behind Dr. Head.

"It is absolutely unacceptable," said Kevin Harbour, UCLA Black Alumni Association vice president of operations. "It leaves us appalled, and clearly it betrays the university's track record and vision for the future."

The UCLA statement says Dr. Head and his attorney were advised of the steps to take to initiate a full internal investigation, but chose to go the legal route instead. Foley says they did this because the alleged retaliation grew so severe.

The university statement also says pending litigation severely limits its ability to fully respond, and calls Dr. Head's statements a "media campaign."

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